My sister Gerri was here for a visit a couple of weeks ago and we had the most fantastic time! Aside from going blueberry picking and a trip to Mahone Bay, we decided to do some Lebanese cooking. In my family, Gerri is the Fatayer Queen! She always has some in the freezer to take out when someone comes to visit, and they are oh so good!
A favorite street food in Lebanon, these tasty spinach pies can also be served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a meat main course. We often ate them growing up, but at the time we called them “flat tires” as that’s pretty well how the name sounds. Some people make them with filo dough, but the Savory pie dough that we used is the traditional way to make them. Fatayer can be frozen and reheated, and are just as delicious as fresh.
So we spent an afternoon making Spinach Fatayer.
First we gathered together ingredients for the dough. Notice the open Eat Where You Are book on the counter!
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg dry yeast
¼ cup oil
2 tsp salt
5 cups flour (approximate)
Place water and sugar in a large bowl. Add yeast and let proof 5 minutes. Add oil, salt and egg. Fold in flour gradually. Knead in the flour until the flour leaves the edges of the bowl and is smooth.
Smooth a little oil over the dough so it doesn’t dry out. Cover with a plastic sheet and then with a tea towel.
Let rise in a warm place for 30 – 40 minutes. We put it on top of the fridge because it is warm there and out of the drafts.
Here is Gerri, right in her element, kneading the dough.
While the dough was rising we got the filling ready.
2 large bunches of spinach ½ cup oil
1 large onion, chopped 1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup parsley, finely chopped ¼ tsp pepper
¾ cup lemon juice 1 cup pine nuts (optional)
Wash and drain spinach well. Chop and place in a large bowl. Add onions, parsley, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Toss well, and set aside.
Toast the pine nuts by putting them in a dry frying pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until browned. Add to spinach mixture. (We actually forgot to toast the pine nuts, but it didn’t take anything away from the final taste)
Here is the spinach filling, all ready.
Heat oven to 400 deg
Divide the dough into 2 sections, and cover one part with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out. Pull off pieces of dough and roll out to 4 inch rounds, about 1/8-inch thickness. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the center of a round.
Fold three sides of the dough over the spinach to make a triangle. Make one at a time, as the spinach will have a lot of juice. If necessary, squeeze out some of the juice before placing in the dough.
Secure triangle by pressing on the edges of the dough as you fold, making sure that it is well sealed around the edges.
Place fatayer on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Turn oven to broil for color, if necessary. When they come out of the oven, brush with butter and let cool.
Our recipe made about 80 fatayer! That’s enough to have some now and lots to freeze for later.
Can be served hot or cold.