Bistilla (Pistilla)


3 Cornish hens
Wash well and pat dry inside and out, reserving giblets:

Rub well inside and out with paste of:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. salt

Let stand 10 minutes and then place hens and giblets into a saucepan in which they fit snugly.

1 tsp. finely minced gingerroot
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Pinch saffron
1 c. hot water

Pour over hens and add water to cover.

Sprinkle on top:
3 cinnamon sticks
1 lg. onion, finely minced
1 c. minced parsley
1/4 lb. butter, cut into bits

Bring to boil, cover, lower heat and cook 1 hour or until hens are tender. Let cool in stock, remove and shred meat and giblets into small pieces. Set aside.

In heavy skillet brown:
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. blanched almonds

Drain on paper toweling, cool and chop finely.

Combine with:
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Set almond mixture aside. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the stock and cook stock over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Lower heat to medium and add: 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Keep at simmer and gradually beat in: 6 eggs, beaten until frothy.
Cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes, or until eggs are cooked but not dry. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste. Stack on a cookie sheet: 4 phyllo sheets.

Bake in a 400 degree oven 1 minute, so sheets are crisp but not browned. Set aside.

Using 9 phyllo sheets and approximately 3/4 cup butter. Spread a 12 inch skillet lavishly with melted butter and arrange 6 buttered phyllo sheets in the pan, letting edges hang over the sides. Fold another buttered sheet and place in center of skillet. Sprinkle with reserved almond mixture.

Cover with half the egg mixture.
Top with 2 of the baked phyllo sheets.
Layer over sheets reserved cornish hen meat and giblets.
Top with remaining baked phyllo sheets.
Cover with remaining egg mixture.
Fold edges of dough over and brush with melted butter.
Arrange remaining 2 unbaked phyllo sheets on top, tucking edges in under pie to enclose completely.
Brush with melted butter. Bake in a 425 degree oven 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Shake pan slightly, loosen edges of pie with spatula and invert on buttered cookie sheet, pouring off any excess butter and reserving it.
Brush top with reserved butter and bake approximately 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle lavishly with sifted powdered sugar.
Make a crisscross pattern on top with: ground cinnamon.
Slide onto heated serving plate and serve immediately.