Esfihas (or Esfirras)
Brazilian beef dumplings
Perhaps the most popular and well-known Brazilian snack, esfihas are flavorful beef dumplings. Great as finger foods for parties, they make an excellent addition to any get together!
8 cups (2lbs) all-purpose flour
4 envelops Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
8 oz margarine
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups milk
3 lbs ground beef
2 diced onions
2 diced ripe tomatoes
1 diced red pepper
salt and ground pepper
4 tbs oil
Heat the oil in a saucepan and lightly fry onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Then brown the ground beef with this mixture. Hint: Let the filling drain in a strainer before use. In order to esfihas hold their shape during baking, the filling has to be free of liquids.
In a large bowl, mix one cup of flour with yeast, sugar and salt.
Heat milk with margarine until very warm (130°F) and pour in dry ingredients and mix well in the bowl. Combine the egg and remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (at least 20 minutes, or use a heavy-duty mixer).
Roll the dough into a rope and cut into 2 inch long pieces. Cover and let the pieces rest for 2 hours in a warm place or until they double size. Hint: Make the esfihas smaller if they are snacks for parties.
Flatten each piece with a rolling pin on a floured surface and place the filling the in the center. Fold the dough over the filling on three sides to wrap it into a triangular shape. Hint: Add the juice of two limes to the filling to improve. Be generous with the filling - esfihas should be well stuffed when you wrap them. If you’re feeling brave, try making your own filling – like chicken and red peppers.
Place esfihas with seam down on a large floured baking sheet (do not grease), leaving room for dough to rise.
Let the rolls rest for half hour while you heat the oven to 400°F.
Brush the top of each esfiha with egg yolk and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. [Makes: About 20 esfihas]