Baked Kubbeh Pie

November 14, 2017
2 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Fried kubbeh is delicious but requires time and effort to make—and then it still has to be fried. So on those occasions when you want to make kubbeh but do not have the patience, this baked version is an equally delicious alternative.

Note: This Nine Spice Mix lends dishes a uniquely Palestinian flavor. It is my mother’s own blend but feel free to adjust to suit your taste, or you can substitute with store-bought baharat or Lebanese seven spice mix for an equally tasty, albeit slightly different, flavor profile.

Excerpted from The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon). Copyright © 2017.
Reem Kassis

What You'll Need
  • For the kubbeh dough
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz/280 g) very fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nine Spice Mix (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 ounces 250 g lean goat, lamb, or beef meat, twice ground (minced) through a fine mincer
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • For the stuffing
  • 1 cup (4 oz/120 g) toasted pine nuts (additional 1 cup for extra crunch, optional)
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz/50 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1 pound 2 oz (500 g) ground (minced) lamb or beef, or a combination of both
  • 1 teaspoon Nine Spice Mix (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 6 cassia bark or cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 blades of mace
  • 1/2 nutmeg, crushed
  1. To make the Nine Spice Mix, place all the ingredients in a large skillet (frying pan) over medium-low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon periodically to ensure the spices do not burn, until you begin to smell the aroma of the spices, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool completely, about 1 hour. This step is crucial because if the spices are not cooled properly, they will form a paste when ground rather than a powder. Place all the roasted spices into a heavy-duty spice grinder and grind until you achieve a fine powder consistency. Store the spice mix in an airtight container. It will keep for several months although the aroma will fade with time.
  2. To make the dough, put the bulgur into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes, then drain, squeezing out as much excess water as you can. Put the onion, salt, and spices with 1 tablespoon of cold water into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground (minced). Add the meat and pulse until combined. Add the soaked bulgur and process until the mixture resembles a smooth and pliable dough. Knead briefly with your hands to smooth out and evenly combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.
  3. To prepare the stuffing, heat olive oil in a skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat and fry the onions for 3—5 minutes, stirring, until translucent and starting to brown. Add the meat, spice mix, and salt and cook for 6—8 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the meat is nicely browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and mix in 1 cup of toasted pine nuts, if using. At this point, the mixture can be used as called for in a recipe, or cooled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or the freezer for up to 1 month. Combine 1 cup of toasted pine nuts, walnuts, and lamb with onion and spices.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6 and grease a shallow 28cm round or 12 x 8-inch/30 x 20-cm rectangular ovenproof dish with olive oil. Keep a bowl of water nearby to wet your hands while you shape the kubbeh.
  5. Divide the dough mixture into 2 equal halves. Spread one half of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the baking dish, wetting your hands as you go to ensure an even and smooth finish. Spoon the stuffing over the dough and gently press in with your hands. To spread the top layer of kubbeh, tear off a handful of the dough and flatten out with your hands to a similar thickness as the bottom layer. Place the flattened piece on top. Tear off another portion and repeat, slightly overlapping it with the first. Continue, wetting your hands as you go, until the top layer is covered, then smooth out.
  6. With the tip of a sharp knife, score the top layer to form a geometric pattern. If using a rectangular dish, the most customary is a diamond pattern, which can be achieved by doing criss-crossing diagonal lines. If using a round dish, you can divide the circle into quarters or eighths and then do a diamond pattern within each triangle. Once you have created your pattern, cut all the way through the kubbeh along the lines that you want each serving sizes to be.
  7. At this point, it can be baked or it can be frozen for up to 3 months. To cook, brush generously with olive oil and bake, uncovered, for 35–45 minutes, until dark golden brown. Check it once or twice and if it seems dry, brush with olive oil. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Regine
  • Reem Kassis
    Reem Kassis
  • mj
  • CalamityintheKitchen

12 Reviews

mj January 5, 2018
I finally rounded up everything for this recipe. I made it a two day event, roasting the nuts and spices last night, and made the baked Kubbeh Pie today. People, get the whole spices, and roast them at home. It is so worth it! I followed the recipe only deviating in one spot. I didn't order enough allspice berries(I only had about two tbsp of allspice berries, so I cut the spice mix recipe about half and added extra peppercorns, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon). Other than that I strictly followed the recipe....IT WAS AMAZING! The flavors are just heavenly. When I make this again I want to treat the bulgar wheat a little different. I will soak it in boiling water for about an hour, then squeeze out all the excess water. I think doing this will add more bulk and texture to the dough. This recipe was so good, I love the spice mix and the nuts just add to the richness! I made a cucumber garlic yogurt dressing for a side along with simple baked sweet potato...Seriously thanks so much for this recipe!!!!! YUM!
Reem K. January 5, 2018
Mj your comment makes what I do so worthwhile!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed this dish :-))))))) as we say in Arabic "Sahtain!"
CalamityintheKitchen November 16, 2017
I love Kibby and am excited to try this. But I'm confused by the recipe... The dough has meat, onions and spices in it? as well as in the filling? When are they mixed into the bulgar?
Reem K. November 16, 2017
Hi CalamityintheKitchen! So the meat in the dough is used to bind the bulgur, I realize that part of the instruction is missing and I will ask F52 to adjust it. Basically you combine the bulgur and all the dough ingredients in the food processor to make a paste. you use have to line the bottom of the tray and the other half to cover it (the way you would an apple pie!) The stuffing is a fried meat and nut mixture which is layered between the two layers of dough. Let me know if this is clearer, and I will ask for a recipe adjustment ASAP. Thank you!
Regine November 15, 2017
Kibby is what we call a version of this dish in Haiti. Introduced by the Haitian-Lebanese in Haiti. It is very popular as an appetizer and each kibby is rolled into a cylindrical shape, made with a combination of beef and lamb. The main herb that is featured is mint; and the kibbys are usually served with slices of lime.
Reem K. November 15, 2017
Hi Regine! We do the fried cylindrical versions as well, though we don't use mint. Sounds interesting - lamb and mint always go well - will definitely try it next time :-)
Lynn D. November 16, 2017
Reem, why didn't you answer Calamity`s question. The instructions for the dough are definitely missing something.
Reem K. November 16, 2017
Lynn, I didn't answer her question b/c my youngest daughter has an ear infection and I just got back from the doctor, and it is only 9am here. So I will get to her question when I have the time. If you read the intro and recipe thoroughly you will see that the dough is actually not missing anything.
mj November 15, 2017
I cannot wait to try this! I'm betting that fresh spices make a significant difference in this recipe!
Reem K. November 15, 2017
Fresh spices are the best indeed! Hope it turns out well for you - let us know how it goes :-)
Amy F. November 15, 2017
This looks amazing! We are a paleo household, so will be experimenting with the crust. Wondering if there anywhere to purchase a pre-made Nine-Spice Mix?
Reem K. November 15, 2017
Hi Amy!! The exact nine-spice mix probably not (that's just a household concoction my mom came up with ;) ) but the Lebanese 7-spice mix and the Baharat spice mix can both be easily found in most supermarkets and will give you a very similar flavor profile. Do let me know what you come up with for crust!