Flaky Cinnamon-Almond Chicken Pie

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Flaky Cinnamon-Almond Chicken PieWhen Howie and I went to our first Moroccan restaurant, the first surprise was the belly dancer. Our enthusiastic response probably led to the second surprise, which was our joining the belly dancer. The third surprise? Well, let’s just say that perhaps I showed a bit too much of my belly than was entirely appropriate. But the fourth surprise—it was the best of all. When a crispy phyllo package was delivered to our table, and we opened it to discover the bastilla. Who could imagine that chicken, cinnamon, and a touch of sugar would be even more entrancing than a belly dancer?

  • Yield: 3 to 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1 lb chicken breast fillets or thighs, boneless, skinless
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted, divided
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw for about 30 minutes on the counter, per the package’s instructions.
  2. In a medium pot on the stove, combine water, salt, ginger, cumin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and (optionally) saffron. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the chicken. Poach the chicken until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is poaching, add the almonds to a baking dish, and place in the oven to roast for 8-10 minutes, or until the almonds begin to toast and start to turn light blond in color. Remove the toasted almonds to a bowl and combine with the sugar and the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a bowl, leaving the broth in the pot. Turn the heat to medium and allow the broth to reduce until you have about ½ cup remaining, about 10-15 minutes. While the broth is reducing, use two forks to shred the cooked chicken. Combine the chicken with the almond and sugar mixture, mixing to coat the chicken well.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Once the chicken broth has reduced, add the lemon juice to the pot. Next, stir in the eggs. Continue to stir regularly, cooking the eggs and continuing to reduce the broth until the pot has the consistency of scrambled eggs—about 8-10 minutes. Remove the eggs from heat.
  6. Dust your counter or board with flour, unfold the puff pastry, place the sheet atop the flour, and dust with some more flour. Roll the sheet into a 10-inch square, smoothing out all the fold seams.
  7. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the bottom of the empty baking dish with half of the melted butter. Layer the shredded chicken and almonds, then the eggs. Top with the sheet of puff pastry, pushing down to tightly fit the filling. Trim the excess pastry from the edges. Generously brush the puff pastry with the remaining butter, and place the baking dish in the oven.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly brown. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the pastry. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and serve in heaping spoonfuls.

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