Moroccan Chicken and Almond Pie
To prepare the Almond Layer, preheat the oven 375 F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the almonds and coarsley chop in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
To prepare the Chicken Filling, heat the butter in a large high-sided fry pan set on medium-high heat until sizzling, about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, onions, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, ginger and saffron or turmeric and cook until the onions are translucent and their juices have been released and evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning the chicken several times to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and cool.
Boil the cooking liquid over medium heat, stirring often, until reduced to 1 cup, about 8-10 minutes. The sauce will be dark and have a thick consistency. Set the pan of reduced sauce aside.
When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut the meat into 1 inch chunks or shred it. Add the diced chicken to the reduced sauce along with the salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley, mixing well. Cook the mixture over medium heat. Stir in the eggs, using s spatula to stir and scrape the sides of the pan. Cook until soft curds form, about 5-7 minutes. The filling shouldn't be too dry or overly wet. Set aside.
To assemble the Chicken Pie, finish with the Phyllo Crust. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush a 12 to 14 inch round pizza pan with the butter. (If you don’t have a round pizza pan, you can use a rectangular baking sheet. You'll need to arrange the phyllo sheets in a free-form circle to shape the pie.) Arrange 8 sheets of the phyllo in a pinwheel pattern on the pan, brushing each one with the butter first. The sheets should overlap and hang over the edge of the pan.
Spread the filling mixture evenly over the phyllo to the edge of the pan. Place 2 sheets of the phyllo over the filling and brush with the butter. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the phyllo to the edge of the pan. Fold the overhanging ends of the phyllo over the filling. You will get the best results by bringing up one sheet at a time. Lay 8 more buttered sheets of phyllo over the filling in an overlapping pinwheel pattern, just as you did on the bottom of the pan. Gently tuck the overhanging ends of the phyllo under the pie. Brush the remaining butter over the top.
Bake until the top is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour off any excess butter. Invert a large plate or a large baking sheet with no sides over the pie. Holding firmly, turn the pie over onto the plate and then slide it back onto the pizza pan so the bottom is now facing up. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert again so the original top is facing up. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer.
Remove the pie from the oven and slide onto a serving platter. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Dust the top with the powdered sugar and cinnamon, cut into wedges and serve warm.
Wine Suggestion - Gewurztraminer