Lahma Bi Ajeen

These are tiny pizzas covered with meat instead of cheese. They are elegant enough to serve as warm hors-d'oeuvres at a cocktail party but can also serve as a savory accompaniment to a bean or lentil soup. My daughters Rachel and Eve and I learned to make lahma bi ajeen from my friend Sarah Choueka when she visited Urbana from Jerusalem in May, 1996. Sarah made the whole process seem quite simple as she converted our kitchen table (6 feet by 3 feet) into a production line. Sarah prepares large batches of lahma bi ajeen and freezes them in stacks, rolled like coins for a bank deposit, and well-wrapped in plastic or foil.




Yield: about 80

Mix all dough ingredients well. Knead for a few moments. Set aside to rest while preparing filling. Mix all the filling ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Since you will be preparing a large number of these, it makes sense to work on a large, clean surface. The kitchen table is perfect. Roll half the dough to 1/8 inch thickness on a clean table. Use a glass, 2-2.5 inches in diameter to cut circles of dough. Place these circles on a well oiled baking sheet. Work the remaining dough into a ball, and roll it out to cut more circles. Keep combining the circle cutouts until you have used all the dough. Place 1.5 tsp. filling on each circle. With a fork, carefully smooth filling to the edge of the circle. It's fine for the lahma bi ajeen to touch each other in the pan, but they cannot overlap.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until dough is just firm but not crisp.

Serve with tehina and soup or salad for a first course.

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