Tunisian briks with brains

Tunisian briks with brains

William Meppem

Briks are probably the best known Tunisian snack food, and are sold just about everywhere in Tunisia. They are traditionally made from the same type of paper-thin pastry as the warka pastry used in bisteeya. This is often sold as ‘brik’ pastry, but is hard to find, and filo will do just as well, or at a pinch, Chinese spring-roll wrappers. The fillings are numerous, but mashed tuna fish, spinach and cheese or creamy brains are favourites. Briks nearly always include an egg, which is broken onto the filling. The pastry is then carefully wrapped up and the whole parcel quickly deep fried. The idea is to eat them immediately, so the egg yolk is still runny when you bite into the crispy pastry.


Quantity Ingredient
6 sets lamb’s brains, cleaned and soaked overnight in milk
1/2 lemon
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 onion, quartered
1/2 stick celery
a few parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
50g melted butter
6 sheets filo pastry
12 large mint leaves
3 teaspoons Chermoula
6 egg yolks


  1. Soak the brains overnight and when you are ready to cook, rinse them well and place them in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and add 1/2 lemon – squeeze in juice first – the cinnamon stick, onion, celery stick, parsley and the bay leaf. Bring the water slowly to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the brains to cool down in the poaching liquor. When they are completely cold, remove the brains from the liquor, pat them dry and lightly season them with salt and pepper.
  2. Take a round soufflé or ramekin dish (8 cm diameter) and brush inside with melted butter. Take one sheet of filo pastry and brush it with melted butter. Fold it in half and brush it with butter again, then fold it in half again. Carefully place the filo pastry square inside the ramekin so that it covers the base and comes up the sides.
  3. Lay a mint leaf on the bottom and place one set of brains upside down, on top. Carefully smear a scant teaspoon of chermoula over the surface and then gently spoon an egg yolk into the hollow at the centre of the brains. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then lay a second mint leaf over the top of the egg yolk and fold the pastry sides up and over to completely cover the filling.
  4. Repeat for the remaining 5 briks.
  5. Bake in preheated 220°C oven for 8 minutes, or until the briks are golden-brown. Remove from the oven and carefully turn the brik out. Put back into the ramekin, right side up, and return to oven for another 4–5 minutes at 200°C or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve straight away.
Middle East
Middle Eastern
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