Reem's California x The Buttery Existence

How To Make Sfeeha

Photo Credit: Reem Assil

I was so pumped when Reem Assil of Reem's California agreed to collaborate with me!  She and I met through her friend Jeff Harry (who I randomly met on a flight from Houston-Ft. Lauderdale during the holidays) and after listening to me ramble on about my show and site, he told me I had to meet his friend Reem and was nice enough to make introductions.  

After meeting her at La Cocina here in San Francisco, she let me know about her Kickstarter campaign (you can learn more about it here) to help her fulfill a dream of hers to open up her own bakery in Oakland, CA.  

If you know me, you are highly aware that I am all about empowering other women, especially my fellow entrepreneurs. So I was really excited when she asked me if I would be interested in creating an episode specially catered to her Kickstarter community, I obviously said yes.

Photo Credit: Reem Assil

Photo Credit: Reem Assil

We decided it would be fun to share a how-to video with her Kickstarter Community as a thank you for supporting her fundraising campaign.  When we were deciding on what recipe to showcase, we agreed we wanted to do something simple and tasty: Sfeeha 

Here's her story as to why she wanted to share this dish with her Kickstarter Community and my followers: 

This recipe is one of our most popular small pastries. It’s reminiscent of a sweet juicy burger bite in rich flaky bread. I always grew up with different filled bread pastries going to the bakery with my mom growing up. The smell of fresh pastries filled with cheese, spinach, meat or other fun fillings is very nostalgic for me. It reminds me of the bakeries we grew up going to. When I come up with bread fillings I like to feature different regions of the places my parents are from. This particular recipe is a sweeter meat (lamb, yogurt, and pomegranate, yum!) and is truly addicting. I’ve found it to be popular in the northern part of Lebanon (ba’albak) and some parts of Syria so it perfectly encompasses my ethnic background.
— Reem Assil

I really enjoyed making this delicious pastry with Reem and I hope you do too! Let me know your own experience by email or in the comments below! 


12 oz of ground lamb or ground beef 1 medium onion, finely diced
¼ cup of yogurt
¼ cup of pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tsp of black pepper


1 ¼ C warm water (90-95 deg)
1 tsp active dry yeast
3 ¼ cup of AP flour
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 T of olive oil

2 tablespoons of pine nuts
2 tablespoons of pomegranate (optional)


1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water and set aside to proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make sure salt is incorporated thoroughly.

3. When yeast is proofed, add oil to wets and create a well in dry mixture. Pour liquid into well. Slowly incorporate with wooden spoon until workable by hand. If dough is wet or sticky, incorporate 1-2 tablespoons of flour.

4. Knead dough by hand in bowl or on flat surface (about 10 minutes) until soft and elastic.

5. Place in an oiled bowl and seal with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1.5 hours at room temperature or until doubled in size.

6. Meanwhile prepare filling with onions, meat, yogurt, pomegranate molasses, and spices. Mix ingredients into meat. Do not over-mix!

7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

8. When dough has risen, punch down and divide dough into 4-6 pieces for easier handling.

9. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Keep turning over the dough and dusting beneath with flour so that the dough doesn't stick.

10. Roll out to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut the sheet into to 3-3.5 inch diameter circles. Reserve the scrap dough pieces and let rest for a second roll out.

11. To make pies, put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each pastry round. Shape into the traditional square shape by pinching the edges together in 4 corners leaving the middle open.

12. Garnish each center with pine nuts & pomegranates. Brush pies with ample amounts of olive oil. Bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 10-12 minutes or until golden.