Fatayers (spinach pastries)
Makes 25 four inch or 40 three inch pies.
I learned how to make these while visiting a Lebanese family as they were celebrating Ramadan. They take a little work, but enlist some help in stuffing the breads and everyone can have some fun, with delicious results.
- 5 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoon dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 cups lukewarm water or milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Combine flour and salt in large bowl. In another bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir yeast mixture into remaining water, or milk and add to flour mixture. Mix well with wooden spoon and turn onto floured board. Knead well for 8-10 minutes, until dough is very elastic and smooth. Place in greased bowl and cover with dry towel. Set dough in warm spot until it has doubled. Punch down and form into a ball. Let dough rest, covered, while you make the filling.
- 2 bunches fresh spinach
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- juice of one lemon
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp ground sumac (available in most Middle Eastern grocery stores)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Filling: Remove roots and yellow leaves from spinach. Wash well, then drain and chop. Rub the chopped spinach together with ½ tsp salt. Mash the onions with remaining salt. Add pepper and sumac. Add spinach to onion, then mix in oil, lemon juice and pine nuts. Put aside in a strainer and let the excess liquid drain.
Pre-heat oven to 450F. Roll out dough using a rolling pin till dough is as thin as possible. Invert a tea cup on dough and press to have equal circles, or use a 3-inch cookie cutter. Place a tbsp of spinach filling on each piece. Bring up sides at 3 points to form a triangular shape. Press edges firmly with fingertips to seal completely (put flour on finger tips to help seal).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fatayers on top, leaving enough room for expansion. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops of the fatayers are golden brown. Don't worry if some of them leak or bubble, they're still perfectly good to eat!
Serve warm, or at room temperature. They may be frozen for storage, either before baking or afterwards.