Bastila

A Bastila is a savory Moroccan pie with a chicken filling that is cooked within crêpes. The preparation is a little involved in that both the filling and the crêpes need to be made first. But it’s not a difficult pie to make, and so worth it!

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What makes this pie’s flavor unique is that traditional Moroccan mixture of almonds, cinnamon and sugar. If you’ve ever been to a Moroccan restaurant you are familiar with this seasoning mixture, as it seems to be in every dish!

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I wish I could tell you a lovely story about how I came about this recipe, but I can’t. I know I tore the recipe out of a soft-backed cookbook of international recipes. At one point in my cooking life I felt it beneath me to keep anything but beautiful, hard-back cookbooks. I’ll never toss a cookbook again. But at least I was smart enough to save the recipes I loved!

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Bastila

1 – 3 pound chicken
4 ounces butter
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Butter, approximately 4 ounces, at room temperature
18 crêpes, at room temperature
Powdered sugar
Ground cinnamon

Begin by poaching the chicken with onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, parsley, peppercorns, and a little salt. You can do this the day before.

About 2 1/2 to 3 hours is sufficient to get moist, succulent chicken. Let the chicken cool, then remove the bones and skin and place the chicken in a bowl and set aside. I shredded the chicken more than cut it up into pieces.

Add the butter to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 5-6 minutes. Then add the parsley, ginger, and all of the spices.

Break the eggs and place them in a medium-sized bowl, along with the egg yolks. Whisk them well.

After the onion and spice mixture has cooked a minute longer, pour the eggs into the onions. Make sure the heat is low. Gently stir the eggs into the onion mixture until they are completely cooked.

Add the chicken to the onion-egg mixture and stir well. Add a little broth if the chicken mixture seems dry. Also taste for salt.

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Using a dry blender, blend the almonds, sugar, and cinnamon together. If you have a few pieces of almond, that’s okay. Set aside.

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To prepare the Bastila, use a large skillet, preferably with rounded sides. Generously butter the skillet.

Begin by layering approximately 8 crêpes around the side of the skillet, followed by 4 more covering the center bottom.

Add the ground almond mixture to the bottom of the skillet and spread it around. Then add the chicken filling. It shouldn’t be over the top of the skillet, preferably.

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Then fold the side crêpes over the filling. Use the remaining 6 crêpes to cover the top of the pie, buttering them first on the bottom side. Spread a little soft butter on the top of the pie as well.

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To cook, begin at medium-high heat. You will see the butter bubbling.

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After about 8 minutes, I lowered the heat to ensure that the crêpes sealed themselves, and to heat the inside of the pie.

Have a cookie sheet and large spatula on hand for the next step.

When you feel that the pie bottom has browned sufficiently, place the cookie sheet over the skillet, and using oven mitts flip the skillet over so that the pie is on the cookie sheet.

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Then gently coax the pie back in to the skillet, and cook the bottom side in a similar fashion.

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The cooked Bastila makes a beautiful presentation.

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When I made this pie before, I prepared and served it in an iron skillet. But you have to be able to cut into your skillet. If you cannot, simply slide the pie out gently onto a serving platter.

The final step is to mix powdered sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle it on the top of the warm Bastila.

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In this photo you can see the crêpes wrapping around the spiced chicken filling that is topped with the ground almond mixture. Heavenly!

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By Published On: September 18th, 201581 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

81 Comments

  1. thesnowwoman September 18, 2015 at 6:04 AM - Reply

    Wow, looks amazing!!!

  2. What Lisa Cooked September 18, 2015 at 6:11 AM - Reply

    I love the idea of this, looks fantastic!

  3. cheergerm September 18, 2015 at 6:13 AM - Reply

    Hoo ha, I have had a bastila with pastry before but love the idea of the crepes. Looks magnificent, a wonderful dinner party centrepiece.

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 6:14 AM - Reply

      And it can be made ahead and gently re-heated, so you’re exactly right!!!

  4. Shanthini September 18, 2015 at 6:27 AM - Reply

    This looks very interesting. My recipe for Bastilla uses layers of fill pastry. I have never seen it made with crepes. I bet it’s delicious. The filling I make is very similar though.

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 6:29 AM - Reply

      I guess it could be made with pie crust, phyllo dough, puff pastry, you name it! The crepes are fun!

  5. cookinginsens September 18, 2015 at 6:32 AM - Reply

    This sounds and looks wonderful! I’ll have to copy this for my French people. Thank you!

  6. The Vagabond Baker September 18, 2015 at 7:10 AM - Reply

    I like the idea of this, I wonder if I could create a delish veggie version!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      I would think so! The chicken supplies very little flavor.

  7. Our Growing Paynes September 18, 2015 at 7:43 AM - Reply

    Wow, what a dish. Good thing you saved the recipe!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      I know! It’s really unique and delicious!

  8. spiritedcook September 18, 2015 at 8:11 AM - Reply

    I love bastila. It’s one of my favorite Moroccan foods. And, I too, have rid myself of cookbooks that I’m now kicking myself for doing! But that’s the biz of downsizing…I did take copies of some important recipes from some of the books (you know, you are holding on to a cookbook because you only use one or two recipes from it), so I did save that! Still organizing/unpacking from our move from Maine to New Hampshire…so haven’t cooked anything exciting. Thanks for letting me live vicariously! Cheers!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 8:13 AM - Reply

      Hahaha! You get to live in really beautiful states!

  9. Lynz Real Cooking September 18, 2015 at 9:16 AM - Reply

    Wow this sounds so good. I have never tried this before! Love the step by step pictures. Wonderful post!

  10. sallybr September 18, 2015 at 10:27 AM - Reply

    Another recipe that has been on my files to make forever! I’ve never had it, but read about it and saw it in cooking shows – seems absolutely amazing, worthy of a very festive occasion

    great post, Mimi!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 10:31 AM - Reply

      Really? That’s interesting cause I don’t think I’ve even seen it around! But it’s good!

  11. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 18, 2015 at 10:57 AM - Reply

    Mouthwatering!
    This is one of my all-time favorites, though I’m more used to the version made with crunchy Filo dough. I also like to add golden raisins and chopped green olives, though I know they’re not part of the traditional recipe. :)

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 11:07 AM - Reply

      Oh those additions sound fabulous!!!

  12. cookingwithauntjuju.com September 18, 2015 at 11:54 AM - Reply

    I have not eaten in a Moroccan restaurant but I know I would like the spice mix. Looks and sounds delicious!

  13. heenie September 18, 2015 at 12:22 PM - Reply

    This is plain awesome. I have this habit of marking and rating the recipes too ;) makes life easier.

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 2:42 PM - Reply

      Yes! I just remembered I had a star rating when I was younger. Now I just write notes to myself!

  14. Marcela (tortadellafiglia) September 18, 2015 at 12:38 PM - Reply

    yum! The pie looks awesome! I have never tried this before! Thanks for the step by step pictures.

  15. Mama's Gotta Bake September 18, 2015 at 1:16 PM - Reply

    Beautiful recipe Chef Mimi! Quite elegant!

  16. Elaine @ foodbod September 18, 2015 at 1:55 PM - Reply

    Such wonderful flavours, I wonder if I could make a veg version?!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 2:41 PM - Reply

      Oh very definitely. The chicken is the blandest part of this pie!

      • Elaine @ foodbod September 18, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        Ha ha! With all of those spices I can’t imagine you notice it :)

  17. Jenny September 18, 2015 at 2:44 PM - Reply

    Very impressive! Your crepes look so good! I bet this dish tastes amazing with the moist chicken and all the spices.

    • chef mimi September 18, 2015 at 3:20 PM - Reply

      The filling is moist and delicious. The whole pie is quite unique!

  18. lericettedibaccos September 19, 2015 at 1:48 AM - Reply

    Very good.

  19. Mr Fitz September 19, 2015 at 2:25 AM - Reply

    Stunning indeed! I love this with pigeon meat

  20. David Scott Allen September 19, 2015 at 8:21 AM - Reply

    I love a good b’stila, especially when there are no bones! (In Morocco, they just chop the poor bird up, bones and all!) I have never had one made with crêpes before – only with phyllo dough! I imagine it is so much more tender with crêpes! So excited to try this!

    • chef mimi September 19, 2015 at 9:13 AM - Reply

      I’ve seen b’stila, the word, but had to go with how it was written on my recipe. yikes, bones? I’d love to go to Morocco, but now I may not eat bastila there!!!

  21. The Healthy Epicurean September 19, 2015 at 11:27 AM - Reply

    I have to try this – it looks so fragrant and divine.

  22. Gerlinde de Broekert September 19, 2015 at 11:46 PM - Reply

    I was in Morocco last year and I had a great tasting Bastille, I don’t remember any bones. Your recipe looks delicious.

    • chef mimi September 20, 2015 at 9:15 AM - Reply

      oh good! I really wouldn’t want to actually eat bones. marrow? yes!

  23. spiceinthecity September 20, 2015 at 3:42 AM - Reply

    Wow, this pie sounds so very flavorful!! And autumn is the perfect season for pies, so will be sure to try this soon! Thank you!!

  24. mysimpledelights September 20, 2015 at 5:09 AM - Reply

    This looks fantastic!!! I will definitely give it a go seeing that living in China has left me ovenless for the next few months! Thank you for sharing!!😍

    • chef mimi September 20, 2015 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      no oven? wow. a little challenging!

  25. Chica Andaluza September 20, 2015 at 12:25 PM - Reply

    Absolutely stunning – what patience!

  26. eliotthecat September 20, 2015 at 2:31 PM - Reply

    I love this but I am scared to death of crepes. I remember in the 70s the big fad was crepes and crepe makers. :) We didn’t have a crepe :”maker” and mom had some disastrous results! I definitely should get over my fears, right????

    • chef mimi September 20, 2015 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      well definitely. and no crepe makers for me. the good old fashioned way works great. and if I can make them, anyone can!

  27. Fine Dining at Home (@fdathome) September 20, 2015 at 7:31 PM - Reply

    I was thinking the other day that now we are trying to avoid gluten at home I can’t use filo pastry! There’s definitely no way of making it without flour. And then your amazing pie pops up. Im going to make some gluten free pancakes when I get home, they can’t taste too bad, and as we are just in game season in the UK, what better than a pigeon/pheasant/partridge Bastilla.

    • chef mimi September 21, 2015 at 7:15 AM - Reply

      Sounds lovely. Here, they sell a gluten free all around mixture that substitutes well for flour. It’s sold at Williams Sonoma. It’s called C 4 C, and was perfected by Thomas Keller.

  28. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome September 21, 2015 at 8:59 AM - Reply

    That looks awesome!

  29. CakePants September 21, 2015 at 8:40 PM - Reply

    I’ve never heard of this before, but it looks phenomenal! Sort of like a Moroccan version of chicken pot pie. The pictures are lovely!

    • chef mimi September 21, 2015 at 9:02 PM - Reply

      Yeah like chicken pot pie on crack. or meth. it’s good.

  30. Abbe Odenwalder September 21, 2015 at 11:21 PM - Reply

    Mimi, this is gorgeous! I have had this on my bucket list for a long time. I thought it was made with phyllo, but I love your use of crepes! I need to cross this one off my list. It looks so good!

    • chef mimi September 22, 2015 at 5:41 PM - Reply

      I’ve only had it this way with the crepes, but this filling would be good in any kind of crust!

  31. Francesca September 22, 2015 at 8:37 AM - Reply

    I have never heard of this dish! It looks and sounds wonderful! And so versatile – both as an appetizer or a flavorful lunch! I’ll sure give it a try!
    Don’t be too harsh on yourself! Maybe you kept the only recipe that was worth saving! 😜

    • chef mimi September 22, 2015 at 5:41 PM - Reply

      Ha! Sometimes there are only one or two worth saving aren’t there?!!

  32. Mary Frances September 23, 2015 at 10:31 AM - Reply

    I love this, looks like a much tastier version of a pot pie. It does seem like it takes a bit of work but more than worth it!

    • chef mimi September 23, 2015 at 12:31 PM - Reply

      It is so worth it. Such unique flavors!

  33. dianeskitchentable September 23, 2015 at 2:22 PM - Reply

    That looks and sounds delicious Mimi. Funny how you mention coming upon recipes. I’ve got some old folders with recipes that I’ve copied from others or torn out of magazines. One of these days I really have to go through them to sort – and I need to discard the ones that I look at and say “why in the world did I save this one?”

    • chef mimi September 23, 2015 at 4:02 PM - Reply

      exactly. maybe we were really hungry when we cut those out!!!

  34. Moya September 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM - Reply

    Looks like a beautiful recipe Mimi and love the step by step photos too :)

  35. anotherfoodieblogger September 25, 2015 at 12:04 AM - Reply

    Wow Mimi, I have never heard of Bastila either! I think it would be great with either crepes or phyllo. Your photography is over the top this time. I think I’ll have to put this one on my “to make list” for sure!

    • chef mimi September 28, 2015 at 12:31 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It’s just a pretty presentation!

  36. Caroline Taylor (@AllThatImEating) September 28, 2015 at 2:57 PM - Reply

    I’ve not seen one of these before; sounds so good!

  37. The Gourmet Gourmand September 28, 2015 at 11:26 PM - Reply

    Oh my gosh! Gorgeous!!!! I tried making mini bastillas a while back (I think they might also be called pastillas?) They were awesome, but your recipe looks like it might be better… (it’s definitely more beautiful!) Will have to give it a try :)

    • chef mimi September 29, 2015 at 1:20 AM - Reply

      Oh, these would so impressive a s individual servings! Probably not easy made with the crepes. Thanks!

  38. thefolia October 10, 2015 at 10:43 PM - Reply

    This is my favorite meal! I prefer it with filo dough however. Happy feasting.

    • chef mimi October 11, 2015 at 5:37 AM - Reply

      I haven’t had it both ways, so I’ll have to try it with phyllo and see!

  39. An April 30, 2022 at 4:15 PM - Reply

    Bastilla isn’t just made with chicken. There are different variations of it. One is made with seafood.

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