Monday, July 27, 2015

July 2015 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Sweet "Yafawi Sfeeha"

Blog Checking Lines: The July Daring Bakers' Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal's Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad. The "Yafawi Sfeeha" or also known as "Milwayeh" which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.

This challenge was the first time I had heard of Yafawi Sfeeha, which are traditionally savory meat-filled pastries. I chose to make a sweet  walnut-filled variation, since I am a vegetarian. The rich flavors of cinnamon in the filling balance nicely with the delicate floral flavors of the orange blossom and rose waters, and I found that the dough was very easy to work with.

Make dough and divide into golf ball-size pieces to rest.

Stretch dough into a circle as thinly as possible, and fold each side into the center.

Spread filling along center of dough.

Roll dough into a rope, with filling in the center.

Roll each rope of dough into a spiral shape.

Bake and pour sugar syrup on top of pastries.

Sweet Walnut-Filled "Yafawi Sfeeha"
Makes about 16 pastries

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk, warm
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
About 3/4 cup warm water
Melted ghee, to stretch dough

2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water
1/2 tablespoon rose water

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

1. Make dough: Mix together flour, salt, sugar, milk, and vegetable oil. Gradually add warm water until a sticky dough forms. Knead for about 12 minutes, until dough becomes less sticky and easier to work with. Divide dough into about 16 balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with melted ghee. Cover dough balls and allow to rest at room temperature for a few hours.

2. Make filling: Mix together walnuts, cinnamon, powdered sugar, nutmeg, orange blossom water, and rose water.

3. Make sugar syrup: Heat sugar and water in a pot over high heat, without stirring. Once syrup begins to boil, stir with a wooden spoon until all sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice to syrup and continue boiling for 2 minutes. Allow syrup to cool, and add orange blossom water.

4. Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush your work surface with ghee. Take each ball of dough and stretch it as thinly as possible into a circle. Fold each side of the dough to the middle.

5. Spread the walnut filling in a thin line down the middle of the folded dough. Roll dough into a rope, with the filling contained in the center of the rope.

6. Roll the rope of dough into a spiral shape. Place onto greased baking sheet, and brush with more melted ghee.

7. Bake pastry at 400 F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and pour syrup over warm pastries.

-Adapted from the recipe available at

-Posted by Jennifer