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Baked esfirra feature image

Esfirra (Lebanese Sfiha)

Prep Time 1 hr 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs


  • 1 pound lean ground beef at least 93% lean
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium tomato chopped, with skin but without seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 3-4 teaspoons fresh lime juice one lime
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 pinch 7 spice optional
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of water for an egg wash
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Start with the filling so it has time to cool before shaping the esfirras.
  • First, heat a skillet to medium-low and brown the ground beef with the olive oil.
  • When the beef is browned and crumbly but there are still juices in the pan, add the onions and tomato.
  • Stir and cook just until the onions are somewhat softened but still retain their shape.
  • Next, stir in the tahini.
  • Turn off the flame, remove the skillet from the burner, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Then stir in the parsley, mint, and lime juice.
  • Add the 7 spice (optional), the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir to distribute.
  • Then set aside to cool.
  • Add the dough ingredients to the bowl of a bread machine programmed for the dough setting (or use an upright mixer with a paddle or dough hook, or mix the dough by hand).
  • Mix, knead, and proof for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle.
  • Next, cut the dough into 15 equal pieces. The corner pieces may shrink after cutting, and can be added to other pieces to form 12 dough pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a round, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cooled filling into the center, fold the sides of the dough up to partially cover the filling.
  • Pinch the corner to form a square or rectangle.
  • Transfer to a parchment-covered baking sheet.
  • Repeat until all dough and filling have been used up.
  • Then brush with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough is a dark golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm with a slight drizzle of olive oil and a small pinch of fresh lime.