Babee bi Tamr - Iraqi Date Filled Pies
- 1 Tbls. Dry Yeast
- 1 Cup Lukewarm Water
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- 4 oz. Butter
- 3 1/4 Cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Ground fennel seeds
- 2 Tbls. Oil
- 3/4 lb. Dates pitted
- 1 Egg lightly beaten, for glazing
- 4 Tbls. Sesame seeds
Mix yeast in 3/4 cup of water, add sugar, and leave in warm place or 10 minutes or until it froths.
In food processor, cream butter, then add flour, salt, fennel seed, and blend well.
Gradually pour in yeast water mixture into bowl and work with your hands into soft ball, adding a little water if it is too dry or a little more flour if too sticky. Knead for another 15-20 minutes.
Pour oil in a bowl and turn ball in to prevent a dry skin from forming.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Prepare filling: if dates or soft, put in food processor with 4-5 tablespoons and turn into a paste. If dry, chop dates up and heat in pan with water until softened. Mash with fork.
When dough has risen, knead again briefly. Take a lump the size of a walnut and roll into a ball. Flatten with hands so that you have a round about 3 inches in diameter.
Put a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle and lift edges over the filling to meet at the top. Pinch firmly together to close the dough into a ball.
Flatten the balls a little and arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper, smooth side up on baking sheets.
Brush tops with egg mixed with a drop of water. Make a few holes in tops with fork to prevent the pies from puffing up and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for about 40 minutes, until golden.