I have never been able to duplicate my mother’s pastries. The secret is in the dough and the time has passed when I could learn directly from her. I have tried commercial pizza doughs and puff pastry but neither is satisfactory. Finally I resorted to making mini mana’eesh using pre-made biscuit dough. For hors d’oeuvres, I split the biscuits into thin layers and bake the rounds of dough in a 350°F oven topped with a choice of:

  • A paste of za’atar and olive oil
  • Fresh oregano, sumac and chopped sautéed onions, the filling so similar to my mother’s pastries
  • Za’atar, olive oil and labneh (Middle Eastern strained yogurt).

Bake 5-10 minutes or until pastries turn golden.

Usually, I like to keep it simple; an open-faced bruschetta is all you need. Choose your favorite bread, toast it, spread on the za’tar and olive oil paste, top with tomato, sliced halloumi cheese and pop it in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving.

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