And you thought sliders couldn't get any smaller. These are one bite lamb hamburgers with spicy tangy yogurt sauce and toasted cumin mini buns. Cute, huh?


I'm catering a private appetizer party this weekend and while looking for inspiration came across this recipe by François Payard, a renowned French chef, who lives in New York and owns the Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro. Sliders are popular at appetizer parties these days and they are so adorable. But, as I've been finding out, making mini bites taste adorable can be challenging.

Small bites have a tendency to dry out faster and often lack the flavor that bigger bites do. However Lamb, if not overcooked, stays juicy. And the yogurt sauce with harissa spice adds heat. Harissa is often used in Morocccan and Meditarrean cuisine. It's a chili paste made with a blend of spices. Be forewarned: a little goes a long way. The buns are a simplified brioche dough with toasted cumin and compliment the lamb and spicy yogurt sauce.

For more fun appetizers by François Payard, check out his cookbook: Bite Size

Mini Lamb Sliders with Harissa Sauce & Toasted Cumin Buns Adapted from Small Bites by François Payard

Makes 20

  Cumin Buns

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 tablespoons warm water (110˚ to 115˚F)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons ground cumin

4 large eggs

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Harissa Dressing

1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt

1/2 teaspoon harissa


3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

10 ounces ground lamb

sea salt & freshly ground white pepper Olive oil  

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for ten minutes until the yeast starts to foam. In a bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 3 of the eggs. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Add yeast and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until a soft dough forms. Add the softened butter and beat for 5 more minutes until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky. Remove dough and allow to rest on a floured surface, covered with a damp towel for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickeness. Cut out 20 rounds with a 1-inch cookie cutter. Cover the cut rounds with a damp towel and let rest again for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With the remaining egg beat with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the tops of the buns (only the tops or the buns won't rise). Sprinkle a little ground cumin over all buns. Bake buns for 15– 20 minutes until golden brown.

Mix yogurt with harissa paste. This can be made a few hours ahead. Mix ground lamb with chopped onion and salt and pepper to taste. Form mini patties. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Sear patties, about 45 seconds to 1 minute each side for medium-rare. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Slice buns in half. Put a tiny dollop of the dressing on the bottom bun and the hamburger on the top.