Individual seafood pastries/pies recipe


The classic bisteeya is made with pigeon and seasoned with a lemon egg sauce and almonds, and it is made as a large pastry and served at celebratory feasts. This version uses fish and shellfish and includes the typical heavy dose of fresh parsley and cilantro as part of the seasoning.

  • Yield: 15 pastries (4 ounces/pastry)


For Poaching the Seafood
  • 2 lbs Lean Fish Fillets (cod, sea bass, flounder, etc.), boneless and skinless
  • 1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 qts Water
  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 4 oz Lemon Juice
For Assembling and Baking the Pastry
  • 15 sheets of warka (if these are not available or made, phyllo can be substituted with good results)
  • 3 oz Clarified Butter Filling
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 oz Water
For Making the Filling
  • Poached Seafood
  • 4 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 3 oz Fresh Parsley, minced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2 oz Cilantro, minced (about 1 cup)
How to Make It
    For Poaching the Seafood
  1. In a small pot, bring the water, salt, and lemon juice to a gentle simmer over a medium flame; add the shrimp to the poaching liquid, and poach until just cooked (about 3–4 minutes).
  2. Remove the shrimp as soon as they are cooked, and add the lean fish; poach until the fish just begins to flake apart (time will vary with the thickness of fillets).
  3. Remove the fish pieces once they begin flaking, and allow both the shrimp and fish to cool. Flake the fish into smaller pieces (about ½ inch each), and cut the shrimp into ¼-inch pieces.
  4. For Making the Filling
  5. Place the flaked fish, cut shrimp, olive oil, lemon juice, spices, salt, and fresh herbs into a mixing bowl; mix thoroughly.
  6. Adjust seasoning of filling, if necessary, before proceeding.
  7. For Assembling and Baking the Pastry
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.
  9. Place a sheet of warka on a workbench and brush it with clarified butter.
  10. Place ½ cup of the seafood filling on the bottom quarter of the warka sheet, leaving an inch of space from the end, and fold the filling and warka directly over to enclose the filling.
  11. Fold in the right side of the warka sheet, and roll in the same direction the right side was folded in from (so that you are folding 90 degree from where you did the first fold).
  12. Fold the warka over on itself to enclose the remaining sheet that is exposed.
  13. Place the filled pastry, with the last fold down, on a baking sheet.
  14. In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg yolk and water; mix thoroughly. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the filled pastry.
  15. Repeat steps 2 through 7 for the remaining warka sheets.
  16. Place the completed pastries into the preheated oven and bake until golden brown and crisp (about 15 minutes); remove and serve right away.

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