This festive dish is our vegetarian version of the Moroccan pie which traditionally is made of pigeon. You can serve it as one large coiled pie or make individual pies. For a memorable Easter meal, try serving with a hard-boiled egg in the centre - see dietary and serving tips below. Traditionally, Bastilla is sprinkled with icing sugar, cinnamon and flaked almonds.
Dietary: Vegan and Gluten Free Options
Makes: one large pie (serves 6) or 6 small ones
- 400g carrots, peeled and grated
- 100g green lentils, soaked for a few hours or overnight
- 100g red lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 30g pine nuts, toasted
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 4 tbsp Ras-el-Hanout spice mix
- 50g chopped fresh herbs (parsley, coriander)
- Zest of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp juice
- 1 tbsp pomegranate syrup
- 1 pack of feta (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 pack of filo pastry (approx 12 sheets)
- 50g melted butter or olive oil
- A few flaked almonds
- Poppy seeds
- ¼ tsp flaky sea salt
- Dusting of ground cinnamon
- Dusting icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
- Drain the soaked lentils (keeping the two types separate) place the green lentils in a saucepan and cover with water.
- Add a bay leaf, the turmeric and one of the sliced onions and bring to the boil.
- After 5 minutes of boiling add the drained red lentils and carry on boiling until both lentils are soft-this should take about 15 minutes. If a foamy “scum” appears on the surface of the water skim it off with a spoon, if the lentils look dry add a little water. When cooked drain the lentils in a sieve.
- Dry fry the pine nuts until golden in a dry frying pan-when just golden transfer the nuts to a plate as they will carry on cooking in the pan.
- Heat the little oil in a large frying pan and fry the remaining onion until really soft and starting to caramelise.
- Add the garlic and spices and stir for a couple of minutes and then add the lentils, the grated carrot and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and pomegranate syrup, and then stir in the herbs. Taste and season really well - you may need to add more lemon. If you are using feta add it at this point, crumbled or cubed.
To make the Bastilla:
- Lay out one sheet of filo with the short edge closest to you and brush it with melted butter, lay a second sheet on top of the first and brush this with butter as well.
- Lay 1/6 of the mixture along the short side of the sheet of filo. Make sure the mixture is pressed firmly together so it makes a neat line.
- Roll up the filo to make a sausage shape, quite loosely, as they will need to bend with out cracking.
Repeat this six times so you have six sausage shaped tubes.
- Brush each sausage of filo with more butter. You can now make one large snake coil or six small coils.
- Butter a Tagine dish or a wide round oven dish.
- Start making a spiral shape with the filo sausages, joining the end of one to the end of the next until all six are in place creating a large spiralled circle.
- Brush with more butter and add a sprinkle of flaked almonds and poppy seeds on top.
- To make individual coils just carefully coil them up and place on a baking tray, brushed with butter or oil.
- Bake at 200C for 30 minutes, cover with silver foil to prevent the flaked almonds burning, and take it off for the last 5 minutes, until golden brown.
- Take out of the oven and dust with a little icing sugar and cinnamon before serving.
- To make a wheat free version of the Bastilla use this filling to fill a small squash such as an onion squash. Carefully cut off the top, scoop out the seeds and roast with a little olive oil for 30 minutes. Fill the squash and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
- To make the Bastilla vegan omit the feta and use olive oil instead of butter for brushing the pastry.
- Bastilla often includes a hard boiled egg in the centre. You can do this if you like either by adding soft boiled quails eggs (cooked in boiling water for 30 seconds, chilled in cold water and carefully peeled) to the coiled pie or by placing a soft boiled hens egg (3 minutes I boiling water then chilled in cold water and peeled) in the centre of a round pie. If you are adding eggs you need to try to cook the pie as little as possible so it doesn’t overcook. Try 20 minutes instead of 30.
- This Bastilla will keep, uncooked, in the fridge for 2 days or can be frozen and cooked, from frozen, for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Do not freeze the bastilla if you have added eggs.