Moroccan food is little known in this country, and it’s interesting to become acquainted with this cuisines use of spices such as cinnamon and ground ginger in main-course dishes. B’stilla is a classic dish that combines sweet and salty flavors. This vegetarian version has an unforgettable combination of sweetness and spiciness. Do try eating it with your fingers Moroccan style.

SERVES 6

1ВЅ pounds mushrooms

6 tablespoons butter, plus 7 tablespoons melted

1 large onion, minced

2 teaspoons cinnamon

ВЅ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Вј teaspoon turmeric

Вј cup lemon juice (about 1ВЅ lemons)

10 eggs, well beaten

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons oil

1ВЅ cups almonds

Вј cup powdered sugar

8 sheets filo dough (12 Г— 16 inches)

Powdered sugar for garnish

Cinnamon for garnish

  1. Wipe each mushroom off with a damp towel or paper towel to remove the dirt, then chop them into medium pieces. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet, then add the onion, ВЅ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the pepper, ginger, and turmeric, and saut for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they give off their juice. Remove with a slotted spoon to a platter and leave the remaining juice in the skillet.
  2. Add the lemon juice to the skillet and heat these juices until bubbling. Add the beaten eggs and cook them, stirring constantly, until they resemble moist scrambled eggs. Do not allow them to become dry. Remove them to a platter, add salt to taste, and chill, uncovered, until the eggs are cool.
  3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a small skillet, and when hot add the almonds and saut until golden all over. Be careful not to let them burn. Put them in a blender or food processor and blend until finely chopped. (The almond meal should not be as fine as powder.) Add the remaining 1ВЅ teaspoons of cinnamon, the Вј cup powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and blend until well mixed.
  4. To assemble the B’stilla: Place the filo in front of you and cover with a piece of wax paper and then a damp towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Also set a pastry brush and the remaining 5 tablespoons of melted butter in front of you.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425В°F. Lightly brush the bottom and sides of a pie plate or 9-inch round cake pan with some melted butter. Lay 1 sheet of filo in the plate, then gently press it into the sides and allow the dough to overlap the edges. (Immediately cover the pile of filo again after removing each sheet.) Quickly and lightly brush the surface of the filo with melted butter; you need not do it perfectly, but be sure to cover the overlapping edges. Repeat this procedure with 4 more sheets of filo.
  6. Spoon in the mushroom mixture, top with the cooked eggs, then finely crumble the almond mixture over it.
  7. Gather the overlapping edges of the filo and fold over the filling, making sure to keep the round shape of the pie. Now cover the pie with a sheet of filo, allowing it to drape over the sides. Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat with the 2 remaining sheets. Tuck the edges in around the pie, keeping the circular shape, then pour any remaining butter over the top and spread it on evenly. May be prepared to this point up to 4 hours in advance and chilled.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until evenly golden on top. Remove the pie from the oven, top with a cookie sheet, and invert. Lift off the pie plate and bake the pie on the cookie sheet an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  9. Invert the pie onto a circular plate or platter and sprinkle on some powdered sugar through a sieve. Top with some cinnamon in a lattice pattern.