Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha For Daring Bakers’

Sfiha Savoury Mince Pies

Sfiha are traditional Sephardi pastries from Turkey. They ordinarily consist of lambs mince but lamb has become so expensive here. I really cannot understand why, as we live close to an area that farms lamb. This emphasizes more and more why I would like a farmers’ market close to where I live so that I could buy direct from the farms. Luckily for me, our local butcher has an endless supply of venison in season. I decided at the beginning of autumn to stock up on as much venison as possible. The meat is fairly cheap, low in cholesterol and a healthy sustainable source of protein. The venison I buy is free range, and hung properly before being cut up and sold to the consumer. For my savoury mince pies I bought a pack of Springbok. I kept the leg chops for later use, turned the off cuts into the most amazing casserole and used the meat for this recipe. I minced my own meat which to me is the best thing to do. I know exactly what I am getting in my mince, and I know that the meat is done to the consistency I need it for my recipes. In her post, Manal made her yafawi sfeeha (alternate spelling) using phyllo pastry which she rolled into snails. I had every intention of doing mine the same way, but the phyllo pastry I had was so dry and I could not separate the leaves, let alone bend the tube! I made a small batch with the phyllo and then made more using puff pastry, which from what I read, is more traditional. My puff pastry was also at the end of its shelf life and in small pieces. I rolled it into a sheet by layering the pieces first.

Savoury Mince Pies
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5 from 1 vote

Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha

These savoury mince pies can be made using meat of your choice.
Recipe Category: Meat
All Rights Reserved: an original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 100 g baby fennel, thinly sliced
  • 200 g Swiss chard
  • 250 g venison, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 40 g watercress, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 100 g ricotta
  • 5 mls sumac

if using phyllo pastry

  • 5 sheets phyllo pastry
  • Olive oil for brushing

if using puff pastry

  • 1 sheet puff pastry cut to shape
  • Milk for brushing


  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high temperature
  • Add the fennel to the pan and sauté until soft
  • Slice the stems off the chard and add to the pan
  • Sauté until soft
  • Add the mince and brown
  • Season generously
  • Chiffonade the chard leaves and add to the pan
  • Sauté until they start to wilt
  • Add the watercress and as soon as it has wilted remove from the heat
  • Place the mixture into a colander and leave to drain while cooling
  • Once cool, add the zest, ricotta and sumac
  • Stir to mix and adjust the seasoning to taste

if using phyllo pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  • Brush each sheet with the oil, placing one on top of the other
  • Place the meat mixture along the length of the pastry
  • Roll up tightly and shape into a spiral
  • Place onto a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving

if using puff pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Place a layer of the pastry onto a baking sheet
  • Place the meat mixture into the centre of the pastry - be quite generous with the filling
  • Place the second layer of pastry on top and seal the edges using a bit of water to help 'glue' them together
  • Cut a steam vent into your pastry top (or cut with a cookie cutter before using)
  • Brush with milk
  • Bake for 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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.

What I blogged July 28:

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13 thoughts on “Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha For Daring Bakers’

  1. Sfiha is such a special treat! Your version looks absolutely scrumptious. I grew up eating venison because there were so many hunters around. The only butchers around are in the grocery stores and i do not think they would ever have venison due to its correlation with Bambi. Such a bummer because it tastes so wonderful! You have done an excellent job!

  2. Lamb is ridiculously expensive here too and I live in a farming area – a leg or shoulder is reasonable and what I tend to buy but cutlets are over $40 a kilo!!! This pie sounds killer, thanks!! 🙂 Jan x

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