This sweet and savory pie, known as pastilla or bastilla, is so unique and delicious! It takes a while to put together and is typically reserved for special occasions in Morocco. For the filling-- chicken and onions are slowly braised in a heavily spiced broth flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coriander. Then the pie is assembled with alternating layers of thin, flaky phyllo dough and crushed nuts. This pie is traditionally made with almonds, but this recipe calls for pistachios-- feel free to use either or a combination, they are both delicious!
This was actually my first time ever working with phyllo dough. I was a little bit intimidated since it's known to be extremely fragile and prone to drying out, but here are a few helpful tips when working with phyllo dough:
- Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before use. This recipe only uses about half of one roll, but unused defrosted phyllo dough will stay good in the refrigerator for up to one month.
- Don't unwrap the phyllo dough until everything else is prepped and you're ready to begin assembly.
- Once unwrapped, immediately cover the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap, and then a damp paper towel. The plastic wrap is a necessary barrier because you don't want the dough to get too moist or it will stick to itself.
- Work with only one sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered. And handle gently!
- Make sure you use enough butter when brushing the layers. Phyllo dough has almost no fat in it, so you'll want to really lay on the butter to create the most flavorful, flaky layers in your pie.