I started making these mini pies after a trip to Marrakech, using ras el hanout that I brought home with me. I love how easy they are with shortcrust pastry (although they’re also good with puff). Now I make them just to remind me of all the tagines I ate on my trip.
Place the chicken thighs, harissa paste and salt in a bowl. Mix until the chicken is covered in the paste, then cover the bowl and leave to marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge, or overnight if you can. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds at a time until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse to combine. Add about 5tbsp of water, one at a time, until the mix comes together.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, bring it together into a ball, then flatten slightly. Wrap and chill until needed. Continue to prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry over a low heat for 5-10 minutes, until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the ras el hanout, cinnamon, paprika and flour. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat in the onion and spice mixture, then add the lemon juice and zest and the chicken stock, making sure the liquid covers the chicken. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and there is no sign of pink meat. Remove the chicken from the pan, shred it with two forks and return it to the pan.
Add the raisins, apricots and chickpeas and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the olives and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding more chicken stock if the mixture is too dry – it should be moist, but not too wet. Stir in the coriander and season with salt and black pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the filling to cool completely. Remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to soften for 5-10 minutes.
Cut off two-thirds of the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick. Using the 11cm cutter, cut out 18 pastry discs and press into the hollows in the greased muffin tins. Press out any pleats to make the pastry an even thickness all round and trim the tops evenly.
Divide the tagine mixture equally between the pastry cases, pressing it down well. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface, until about 3mm thick. Using the 7cm cutter, cut out 18 pastry lids, then use a skewer to pierce a hole in each or a sharp knife to cut little dashes, to allow the steam to escape.
Place a pastry lid on top of each pie, pressing the edges together to seal. Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg and then chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Bake the pies on the middle shelves for about 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Serve hot or cold.