Linda Dalal Sawaya, Memories of a Lebanese Garden, Saudi Aramco World, January/February 1997.
This is very similar to the meat pies we grew up eating, but Mother has modified it somewhat in recent years. The sambusak disappear as fast as they are put on the table. Perfect for mezzeh or as a side dish, and can be served hot or at room temperature. Filling and dough can be made ahead and refrigerated, or the pastries can be made and frozen, then baked or fried later. In Douma, they were usually fried, because people did not have ovens in their homes; today, baking them is recognized as more healthful. It is worth trying both methods to discover which you prefer.
1 stick (8 tbs.) softened butter
4 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 cup water
Combine butter with salt and flour. Mix well by hand to blend completely. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. After five minutes, knead into flour mixture. Divide dough and roll into four balls. Cover and let rest for half an hour while you make the filling. Then roll dough out on a lightly floured board to Vs-inch thickness. Cut into circles about three inches (8 cm.) across. Fill each with a tablespoon of filling. Fold in half and pinch curved edges to seal, forming fat half-moons. Fry in equal parts of olive oil and clarified butter over high heat until golden. To bake, arrange pastries on a tray and bake 10 minutes at 450°F on bottom rack, then move tray to top rack for 10 minutes more or until browned.
2 cups chopped onions
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 lb. ground or finely-chopped lamb
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 whole allspice berries, freshly ground, or 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup labnah (drained yoghurt, lightly salted) or kefir cheese (fresh milk cultured with kefir grains)
2 tbs. lemon juice
Sauté onions and salt in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add pine nuts and saute a few more minutes. Add meat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Just before meat is done, add seasonings and cook two more minutes. Remove from heat. Add labnah and mix well. Cool. Mix in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.