Hand of Fatima Pie

A few weeks ago I was invited to a housewarming party by Duck-Pancake-Matt who has moved into an apartment.  The party wasn’t in the apartment because there is a roof-top terrace and so up on the roof with a view of the ocean and the full moon rising is where the party was held.

Hand of Fatima Pie

Hand of Fatima Pie

Duck-Pancake-Matt said it was a fancy dress party and you had to wear a costume dressed as something beginning with ‘M’.  ‘M’ because he has moved to Manly.  I wore my Lulu Lemon exercise gear and when people asked me what I was I said, ‘A Mosman Mum’.

Adding the eschallots

Adding the eschallots

Matt very generously provided all beverages and as he is a wine connoisseur they were pretty terrific.  It was a little chilly up on the roof top but I was able to warm myself with a few glasses of pinot from Nelson in New Zealand.

Setting aside the cooked meat and onions

Setting aside the cooked meat and onions

But as for the food, everyone was asked to bring a dish and there would be a prize for the best savoury and the best sweet dishes.  The food would be judged by a panel of ‘experts’ and I was asked to be on that panel.

Thickening the sauce

Thickening the sauce

I have a lovely friend, Garry, who can talk all things food for hours.  He made this Hand of Fatima Pie and not only did it look outstanding, it was the best lamb pie I’ve ever eaten.  Surprise, surprise, as I was a judge, Garry won the best savoury dish competition and when he accepted his prize of a bottle of Moet, I asked him if I could have the recipe.  Garry emailed it to me the very next day.

Placing the portobello mushrooms onto the sauce

Placing the portobello mushrooms onto the sauce

I had never heard of the Hand of Fatima but I did a little research and found that it stems from the Middle East where many cultures believe the hand of Fatima will protect them from the evil eye.  The Jews believe the fingers represent the five books written by Moses known as the Torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

That's my hand, not Fatima's

That’s my hand, not Fatima’s

This is a slow-cooked pie with the meat becoming extremely tender during the cooking process.  It’s a fairly rich pie and so it doesn’t need to be served with anything heavy like mashed potato.  I served it with a simple green salad.  Now because of the long cooking process, this recipe is best made on a cooler day when you’re looking for a warming comfort meal or you could just be like me and cook it on one of the hottest days of the year because you can’t wait for the seasons to change.  The pie can be made with either lamb or goat but I made it with lamb.  With lamb being costly you don’t want to ruin the pie with a topping of ordinary pastry.  I used Careme which is the best bought pastry I’ve ever tasted.  It’s really worth the additional cost.  Careme now has a gluten-free range so this pie could be GF.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Hand of Fatima Pie
Recipe type: Pie
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A slow-cooked lamb pie
  • 6 skinned lamb shanks
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (750mls)
  • 3-4 tbspns ras el hanout
  • 12 eschallots
  • 1 tbspn cornflour
  • 6-8 portabello mushrooms
  • shortcrust pastry - I used Careme sour cream shortcrust pastry
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 140C (280F)
  2. Place the lamb shanks in a large casserole dish. Add wine and ras el hanout. Place a lid on the casserole dish. Turn on the heat and bring to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, turn off the heat and place in the oven for 3 hours.
  4. Remove from the oven and add eschalotts. Return to the oven for a further hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and take the meat from the bones and place in a separate bowl. (The meat should fall from the bone with just a nudge).
  6. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl with the lamb.
  7. Make a cornflour slurry with a small amount of water.
  8. Place the casserole dish on the hob and bring to the boil. Add cornflour slurry and stir until sauce has thickened.
  9. Turn off the heat and return meat and eschallots to the dish.
  10. Cut mushrooms in half and remove the stem. Place mushrooms on top of the meat (the mushrooms will create a barrier and stop the sauce from making the pastry go soggy - nothing worse!
  11. Roll out pastry and place the lid of the casserole dish on the pastry. Cut out a circle and place the pastry on top of the mushrooms.
  12. Use remaining pastry to make a hand. I put my hand down on the pastry and carefully cut around the shape - do this carefully - you don't want to lose a finger.
  13. Brush pastry top with egg yolk then place the hand in the centre of the pie. Brush with egg yolk.
  14. Increase oven temperature to 180C (375F).
  15. Place pie in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until pastry if golden.
  16. Serve with a salad.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Happy cooking!

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  1. sometimes waiting for change of season just seems like the season will hang on forever – though every time it seems to get warm here the cold weather hits again (I shouldn’t complain as it seems we are in for a hot summer). The pastry hand looks interesting and the story of finding the recipe is just just just so Mosman Mum 🙂

  2. i love this pie Charlie ! I am going to use the hand of Fatima definitely on my next pie. Sounds like the party would have been a lot of fun.

  3. My mouth is watering while reading about this slow cooked pot of wonder. I would have loved to see you dressed in your Lulu Lemon exercise gear… sounds like fun!

  4. The hand is a little creepy….but the finished dish sounds awesome.

  5. OMG Charlie…. That does look fantastic I can almost taste it 🙂 and I agrees Careme is the best bought pastry, but I generally only buy the puff… I think maybe I might try it with puff as I like that lightness of it… what do you think? Liz x

  6. I have to say that’s a little creepy with a “hand” atop a dish. But part of tradition and apparently tasty so that works. Sounds like a wonderful party, especially dining on a rooftop.

  7. That really looks amazing, Charlie! I love the background on the pie as well… xo

  8. I love this recipe, Charlie! First of all, I adore meat pies. So comforting. And if I have a collection of anything at all, it is of Hands of Fatima (after leading so many trips to Morocco and beyond). And as for the concept of fancy dress parties–hats off to the creativity of this theme. When I lived in British communities in the past, I was always amazed at the fancy dress parties–now I see that Oz has its own brilliance in that area.

  9. You have such interesting friends and attend the most unique parties, Charlie. The Hand of Fatima is a very special twist on a lamb stew meets a meat pie.

  10. I dress like a Mosman Mum, too 🙂 And this looks like one scrumptious entree! One that Bill would eat with gusto…and me, too!

  11. Oh, yes, Charlie – love the hand of Fatima and love the look of this pie – I adore pies:)

  12. This hand of Fatima pie sounds wonderful, love the history behind it!

  13. Yum, yum and yum! I’m off on holidays tomorrow for 2 weeks but I’ll be trying this recipe when I get home. Thanks for sharing the history of the pie … it’s so interesting!

  14. Love the sound of this and love the name! And the hand pastry on the top well……..just tops it off.

  15. You’ve really outdone yourself Charlie, this is truly a beautiful dish. On Saturday I made a braised pork that was out of this world, the oven had to be on for 3 hours but it was rather chilly here. On really hot days, I’ll use the BBQ because it’s outside or the slow cooker but it doesn’t braise as well.
    For some reason I sm unable to hi light all five stars to rate this recipe so instead of giving you a three, I leave it blank.

  16. G’day What a great pie and love your costume and title too Charlie!
    I must be hungry again as I swear I can smell your dish from here!

  17. I love this name and this dish. We have a saying in our part of the world – el brazo de Onofre – or Onofre’s arm. Maybe I will try that.

  18. I laughed at your costume – and also had a little giggle at the hand on top of the pie! I think that would give me rather a surprise but it sounds like it has a long tradition and does look striking.

  19. What an incredible pie! And Careme is great pastry yes, we use it for special treats 🙂

  20. I don’t eat meat but I do love a recipe with a strong historical backstory. No wonder you awarded him the prize 🙂

  21. Great prize a bottle of Moet – clearly well worth the win – excellent recipe.
    Have an awesome day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  22. A great pie Charlie it looks aso amazing. I wondered what you were making with the hand of Fatima when I saw the heading. You can’t beat Careme pastry. i just wish there was miore in the packet!

  23. Oooh I know it’s not meant for it but I’m adding this one to my Halloween list for next year!

  24. That pie sounds amazing, and lol, loved your costume concept!

  25. What an interesting dish! Love the hand! I sometimes braise lamb shanks in a similar way, although never thought to then use them as as a pie filling. Really creative, and this is perfect for our chilly weather. Thanks!

  26. A good pie with a lot of history behind it, it almost makes it even more delicious 😀
    Your photos make it look so wholesome!

    Choc Chip Uru

  27. What a fun party! My brother has a rooftop terrace at his Amsterdam home, and how we loved having dinners and get-togethers up there. 🙂 This pie sounds fantastic. 🙂

  28. I bought some goat on sale this week so I might make it with that. The pie looks pretty with the the hand print, and the silver mix would be yummy indeed!
    Great costume idea, and an ocean view with a moon rise sounds gorgeous xox

  29. Yum, this pie looks outstanding! I also love the sound of your costume.

  30. That pie is fantastic! So where’s the photos of you on the rooftop wearing your spendy yellow exercise gear? We miss out on all the fun, Charlie! I’m so glad you shared this pie with us. I might wait for a cooler day but I’m definitely going to put my hand in Fatima’s and make this pie.

  31. Love the pie, and the hand is wicked too. Teehee, you made me giggle with your costume idea, totes something I would do. 🙂

  32. Love the hand on the top and the history behind this pie.

  33. What an interesting dish! I’ve never heard of it either, and I’m glad for the background and good introduction. I do love lamb. It sounds like the party was really enjoyable and they were fortunate to have you be the judge. 🙂

  34. Oh this is fun! You are so creative, I love it! Your recipe sounds AMAZING!!!! Hugs, Terra

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