Spiced Beef Mince, Red Pesto & Mozzarella

Içli Pide

By Meliz Cooks

It’s Great British Beef Week, and to celebrate, I’ve teamed up with AEG to bring you something utterly delicious; Spiced Beef Mince, Red Pesto & Mozzarella Içli Pide.

Içli Pide can be found across Turkey and in Northern Cyprus, with delicious variations across the Levant, Middle East and in Arab cuisine, and essentially consist of a boat-shaped crispy, yet soft pastry dough, filled with ingredients such as spiced mince or cheese and then cooked at a high temperature. The dough is usually made using a leavened (yeasted) recipe and method and so the pizza-function on the AEG Steam-Crisp Oven would be perfect for this traditional method. However, the recipe I am sharing here is for an un-yeasted and unleavened dough that has just as delicious a result when evenly-baked in a fan-assisted oven; and to top it all off, I’ve also made the recipe gluten-free. I’m finding that I’m being asked more and more about gluten-free alternatives for my bread and pastry recipes, and a recipe for a soft, yet crispy sesame seeded dough encasing hot and oozy, cheesy spiced mince seemed the perfect opportunity to share one. A genuine crowd-pleaser that will have you (and everyone else) wanting more.


1. I've found that using gluten-free self-raising flour creates a much lighter, softer dough than using gluten-free plan flour. However, if you choose to make this recipe using a regular gluten-based flour, then use plain white flour instead of self-raising. If you do choose to make the gluten-based dough using flour, rest the dough for 30 minutes covered with a tea towel before weighing, portioning and rolling out.

2. This recipe is showcasing excellent quality British Beef for Great British Beef Week, however it can be just as delicious using minced lamb, or even meat-free mince. 


For the Spiced Beef Mince:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large brown / red onion, very finely chopped

3/4 tsp sea salt flakes

30g fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped but kept separate from each other

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp tomato puree

250g beef mince

1 tsp oregano

¾ tsp coarse black pepper

2 tsp red pesto


For the pide dough:

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp caster sugar

100ml lukewarm water

160g natural yoghurt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (+ extra for greasing)

400g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 tsp red pesto

250g mozzarella cheese, drained and patted dry, then thinly cut or shredded with your hands

1 tomato, halved and thinly sliced into 12 halves

1 medium egg, whisked

1 tbsp sesame seeds


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1. To make the spiced beef mince, add the olive oil to a large frying pan on a medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, sprinkle over the salt, and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the parsley stalks. Soften for another 5-6 minutes until the onions have softened and caramelised a little.

2. Add the ground cumin and paprika, stir again until the onions change colour, and the spices release their aroma before adding the tomato puree and stirring well into the spiced onions and parsley stalks.

3. Add the beef mince, and using the back of your wooden spoon or spatula, break the mince down and into the oils in the pan. Brown the mince for a few minutes, add the oregano and black pepper, cook for a couple more minutes, then stir through the red pesto, before taking the pan off the heat and stirring through the finely chopped parsley leaves.

4. Turn off the heat and leave the pan to one side while you prepare the dough.

5. Preheat your oven to 180c fan / 200c conventional.

6. Add the lukewarm water to a small measuring jug and stir through the salt and sugar until fully dissolved.

7. Add the flour and baking powder to a mixing bowl, stir well, make a well in the centre, then add the yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil and the lukewarm water mixture.

8. Using a fork, start to mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then bring the dough together with clean hands.

9. Once the dough has started to come together, turn it onto a clean surface and form into a smooth bowl.

10. Weigh the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Take a large piece of baking paper and cut into 4 x separate 40 x 25cm pieces to lay the dough on as you roll it out; this will make it easier to transfer the filled pide onto the baking tray.

11. Pour a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into the palm of your hands, and gently rub it into one piece of the portioned dough to form a smooth ball – as gluten free flour naturally lacks the elasticity of flour that is made with gluten, the olive oil will help keep the dough soft and easier to roll out.

Finished Recipe

12. Place the greased dough ball onto the centre of one of the baking paper pieces, and gently start to roll it out with a rolling pin until you have a flat, approximately 3-4mm thin, oval shaped piece of pastry, roughly 30cm at its longest point and 20cm at its widest.

13. Spread 1 tsp of the red pesto across the base of the pastry, add ¼ of the mozzarella across the middle of the oval base, add ¼ of the spiced beef on top of the mozzarella, then start to bring up the sides of the pastry so that that they just cover the sides of the centrally placed fillings, and so that the shape of the pastry now resembles that of a boat, pinching the ends tightly to form a point.

14. Place 3 pieces of sliced tomato on top of the exposed fillings, and season the tomato slices with a little sea salt and coarse black pepper.

15. Brush the exposed dough with the beaten egg, sprinkle sesame seeds onto the egg-washed pastry, and using the sides of the baking paper, gently lift the pide onto a large baking tray. You should be able to fit two pide onto each large baking tray.

16. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of dough, fillings and toppings, then bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown all over with a crispy base.

To serve: sprinkle with fresh finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!

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