Chicken instead of beef, filo pastry instead of puff, but the concept is the same as for the empanada. In Morocco, where the pastilla originated, they are fond of mixing sweetness and spice in savory dishes—hence the combination of cinnamon, sugar, and almonds in these delicate parcels.
First cook the chicken. Place the thighs in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cool, but keep the oven on. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Heat a wide pan over medium heat and add a dash of oil. Sweat the onion and ginger for 8 minutes until softened. Stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cover with the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes so that the stock is reduced by half. Stir the eggs into the chicken mixture as the stock reduces so that they are well combined. When the stock is reduced, add the almonds, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Leave to cool.
Brush a 9-inch cake pan or pie plate with some of the melted butter. Line the dish with 4 sheets of filo, brushing melted butter between each layer and letting the ends of the filo drape over the sides.
Place half the chicken mixture in the pastry cases, then cover with 4 more sheets of filo, brushing with butter and overlapping the edges as before. Flatten down and spoon in the remaining chicken mixture. Cover with the remaining sheets of filo, brushing with melted butter between the layers. Fold the overhanging filo onto the top of the pie, tucking any other edges into the sides. Give one final brush with melted butter before placing in the preheated oven. Cook for 10–15 minutes until golden and crisp on top.
Remove from the oven, place a plate over the dish, and, using an oven mitt, flip the dish upside down to turn out the pastilla. Slide it from the plate onto a nonstick baking sheet. The bottom should now be facing up. Continue to cook for an additional 5–10 minutes until golden.
Remove and cool before serving, dusted with a little confectioners’ sugar and extra cinnamon if you like.