The Carrot Muhammara was inspired by chef Civan Er (via Melissa Clark’s Dinner cookbook). I felt the flavors and texture lent themselves nicely as a filling to these sweet and savory hand pies. The addition of carrot and ginger are not at all traditional but add a nice sweetness typical to muhammarra. If you’d like a bit more sweetness the pomegranate molasses that is usually included in traditional recipes could be drizzled onto the warm pastry at serving time.
This recipe makes almost twice as much muhammara as you need for 12 hand pies. Serve the extra with flatbreads or pita toasts.
- pastry recipe of your choice
- 1 pound carrots (trimmed and sliced into ½‑inch thick rounds)
- 1 pound red bell peppers (stemmed, seeded and sliced)
- ½ cup olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons more for roasting)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 ½ cup walnut pieces (toasted and chopped )
- 1 pint kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (freshly toasted)
- 4 ounce fresh goat cheese roll (sliced into 6 rounds, then cut in half crosswise into 12 half-moons)
- 1 large egg yolk (mixed with a teaspoon water, as egg wash)
Prepare Pie Pastry recipe of your choice. Divide dough in half, shape into 2 discs about 5‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze up to 1 month.
Make the muhammara filling: Preheat oven to 400 F.
On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss the carrots and bell peppers with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange in as close to a single layer as possible. Roast in the heated oven until the peppers are charred and the carrots are browned and tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Don’t be afraid to let them get some color on them. Set aside to cool somewhat.
Once cooled place the carrots, peppers, remaining ½ cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and about half of the walnuts In a food processor. Pulse until mixture is mostly smooth adding a dribble or two of water if the mixture seems too thick. Scrape the mixture into a bowl. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and add the remaining chopped walnuts and the whole, toasted cumin seeds. Stir to combine.
Make the hand pies: On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one disc of chilled dough to a 12 or 13-inch round, a generous 1/8‑inch thick. Cut out six 4‑inch rounds, using a round cutter or appropriately-sized saucer and knife. Gather scraps and re-roll as needed so you can get six rounds. Repeat with the second disc of dough. Lay the 12 rounds out evenly spaced onto 1 or 2 parchment-lined baking sheets (as needed depending on size).
Bring the oven temperature to 425 F.
Dollop about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons muhammara filling onto each round mounding in the center, leaving a 3/4‑inch border all around. Don’t overfill or they will be difficult to seal. Lay one half-moon slice of goat cheese on top of filling, nestling it into the mixture. Brush edges lightly with egg wash. Carefully bring both sides up and towards the center so they meet at the top forming a football shape. Pinch edges together to seal. Then decoratively crimp or scallop edges as you like. Leave hand pie sitting with decorative edge facing up or lay it on its side, whichever you prefer. Brush with more egg wash. Sprinkle with salt. Make 2 tiny slashes in the crust with the point of a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Refrigerate on the baking sheet(s) until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Bake in the heated oven, rotating sheets halfway through if necessary until pies are golden brown; about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.