I have the fondest memories of warm dough filled with spinach and onions coming out of my mother and grandmothers ovens. These tasty savory pastries are called Fatayar, a Lebanese favorite.
fah-TIE-ahr, in Arabic refers to any savory small bundle of dough with a filling. Some fatayar are filled with meat (I will share that recipe soon).
In order for these little pies to stay shut, your spinach filling needs to be dry. If possible, purchase pre-washed baby spinach. The baby leaves tend to have less water content and if you can avoid introducing more water (by washing) then thats best. If you have to wash your spinach yourself, make sure the spinach is VERY dry before chopping. Next, I sprinkle the spinach with a bit of salt (1/4 teaspoon) to help draw our the extra moisture. I then ring it out in a towel. Like really tightly. Multiple times.
My technique differs from that of my mothers in that I use a 4 inch cookie cutter, to cut circles of dough, instead of pinching the dough into smaller balls of dough. I found this technique to be much faster. The dough doesn’t get as fluffy, because there isn’t a second rise, but I did not mind that as much.
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup warm water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for coating the bowl
- 2-4 tablespoons canola oil for pan and brushing tops of pies
- 8 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- In a large bowl, or in a bowl of your stand mixer, proof your yeast in the warm water. Let set for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, salt and olive oil to the bowl. Using your hook attachment on your stand mixer or a wooden spoon in your bowl, mix the flour into the wet ingredients. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough. Knead by hand and form a tight ball.
- Lightly oil a bowl and place dough in there. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in warm dark place to proof.
- While the dough is proofing make your filling. Rinse and dry spinach. Chop fine (I used a food processor) and then sprinkle spinach with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and let sit in a bowl for 10 minutes. Place spinach in a clean towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, mix together spinach, onions, salt, black pepper, lemon, sumac and cumin seeds.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle two baking sheets with canola oil.
- Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a 4inch round cutter to cut your rounds. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of spinach mix onto each circle.
- Bring three sides of the round together to form a triangle on top and pinch closed. Be sure you close firmly. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Place the pies on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the pies with canola oil to brown the tops.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked thru.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me using #CreateAmandasPlate or @AmandasPlate