Short Crust Cheese Pies (Qassatat)

For the Dough:
– 500g plain flour
– 50gm semolina
– 200g unsalted butter chilled and diced
– 3 -4 tablespoons ice-cold water
– 1 teaspoon salt
For the Filling *:
– 500g ricotta / fresh cheeselets
– 2 eggs beaten
– 50gm raisins
– salt and pepper

Method:Dough Preparation:
Sift the flour. Add the salt. Rub in unsalted butter until mixture texture is crumbly. Gradually the cold water to the mixture and knead into dough. Roll to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.

Filling Preparation:
Mash the ricotta. Add one of the eggs to the ricotta and mix well. Add the raisins and mix well until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut off pieces of the dough the size of a small disc. Flatten each discs gently to the desired pastry thickness. Put a tablespoon of the filling mixture into the centre of each disc. Turn dough edges over the filling and seal to form the qassata. Glaze the pies with the remaining beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven (220°C fan forced) for approximately 30 minutes till pastry is golden in colour.

* Variants of this short crust cheese pie are the:
– pea pie where the filling is replaced with mashed peas with curry seasoning;
– anchovy pie where the filling is replaced with shredded spinach (cooked and well drained), peas, fried diced onion and anchovy;meat pie where the filling is replaced with minced beef, peas, fried diced onion and tomato paste.

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