The Esfirra (also written as Esfiha- both are pronounced ess-Fee-ha) is a Brazilian savory pie. It is a common snack and fast food that evolved from the Middle Eastern Sfihah, brought to Brazil by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants. The Sfihah is an open mutton, lamb, or beef pie, shaped like a pizza. Some esfirra are also open like the Sfihah, but I made the closed, triangular shaped version.
Other types of filling include catupiry (a creamy cheese from Brazil- ricotta is sometimes substituted), linguica calabresa (Brazilian smoked sausage), and chicken.
I found the recipe in A World of Dumplingsby Brian Yarvin. I adapted it slightly by adding some spices. Dumplings are my favorite food. Maultaschen, gyoza, ravioli, wontons, tortellini…I love them all. I just wish they weren’t so time-consuming to make. Before Evan, I would often double or triple recipes to fill my freezer. It would take all afternoon to fill those little pockets, but the time was worth it for such a large stash. Now, I can’t devote an entire afternoon to them and it takes me about an hour to make a batch, only to eat all of them in about 5 minutes. Since these esfirra are larger and involve an easy fold, they weren’t nearly as time-consuming as some of the smaller dumplings. They also freeze well for future use.
I made a couple of the Esfirra smaller for Evan. He seems to share my love for wrapped foods. We also found out he loves lumpia (his Lola’s Filipino egg rolls) over Thanksgiving when he took one off my plate and ate half of it. He managed pretty well for having only two teeth.