The first time I heard about the North-African specialty food, feuilles-de-brick, was not long time ago. And even though I might have known some of the recipes prepared by those most amazing sheets, I did not know how they were actually called or of what an important component they were to the North-African cuisine. But thanks to my little son’s French teacher, originally from Algeria, I learnt a lot about these wonderful feuilles-de-brick as she so passionately told me all about those sheets that I felt the urge to try some recipes right away. Only problem was I could not find them easily at grocery shops and it took me a while to finally do. But luck finally decided to smile at me and I was able to find some here in Dubai. It turns out that the closer we get to the month of Ramadan, the easier it should be to find them since they are widely used by the North African community during that period.
Whether savory or sweet, it seems there are endless recipes and ways of preparing dishes using the feuilles-de-brick (sky is the limit). However, for my first feuilles-de-brick adventure, I went for a Palestinian taste that I thought, just until a few days ago, was impossible to make at home: Tamrieyh.
Always on top of my to-eat list while in Amman (in Jabal Amman, one of Amman’s oldest quarters, there is a small shop called Tamrieyt Omar, to where I used to go with my mum so to get the most delicious Tamrieyh ever), Tamrieyh has always been a mystery to me. A simple yet complex mix of flavor and texture. And until very recently, I was not able to figure out what its filling was actually made of.
A fan or not of oriental sweets, and you have not got the chance to try this beautiful Palestinian gem then I highly recommend trying to make it and celebrate yet another beautiful and elegant Levantine bite.
For the Recipe:
6 sheets of feuilles-de-brick*
vegetable oil for frying
for the filling
1 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups fine semolina
1 ½ – 2 cups milk
¾ cup caster sugar
½ tsp good quality vanilla extract
- In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Lower the heat and add the semolina. Stir continuously for a few minutes using a wooden spoon, till mixture consists of fine crumbs.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and milk (start by pouring 1 ½ cups milk first then adding more if necessary) and continue to stir for a few minutes.
- At this point, the mixture should pull back from the pan sides (just like in choux pastry).
- Remove from heat and spread over a wide plate or tray covered with parchment paper. try to spread the mixture into a rectangle shape that is about 2.5 – 3 cm thick. Allow to cool.
- Now cut the semolina filling into six relatively equal pieces. Preparing one Tamrieyh at a time, and working on a clean surface, spread one sheet of feuilles-de-brick and place one piece of the filling rather into the center of the the sheet and fold the sheet neatly over by folding first one side of the sheet over the filling, then the two opposite sides and then fold the fourth side over. Repeat with the remaining five sheets.
- In a medium frying pan, heat some vegetable oil (just enough to cover the base of the pan) then add the Tamrieyh pieces one or two at a time (depending on the size of the pan). Fry for less than a minute on each side (you have to keep a close eye as Tamrieyh can burn easily). Once fried on both sides, move onto kitchen paper for a few minutes before serving them warm and sprinkled with icing sugar. Indulge!
*If can’t be found, use phyllo pastry sheets instead but unfortunately it won’t result in the same taste nor texture.