Fatayers are tiny spinach pies from Lebanon that are a popular Lebanese food. Even the ones that open up are delicious, and the dough can be difficult to seal during baking. I use a wonderful sticky dough recipe for these fatayers, which I roll out and cut into circles. Fill them with spinach, meat, squash, or whatever you like!
A treat for giving and gathering
These pies are much more than delicious meals. To me, this dish is filled with childhood memories of my mother and I kneading dough, putting in ingredients, shaping it into a pie, and then eating it as a family.
It may be a new culinary adventure if you’ve never attempted to make your own fatayer – perhaps you buy them frequently or they’re completely new to you. But, in reality, these aren’t that far off from many dishes you may have tried in the past.
Now, you’re probably wondering: How are we going to make these when they sound so good? It’s actually quite simple.
How to Make One
Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer) Recipe makes 16-18 Ingredients: Dough: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ¼ tsp instant yeast 1 tsp salt ½ cup hot water 1 tbsp olive oil Filling: 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well ½ lb lean ground beef or lamb2 tbsp onion, minced 1 tsp nutmeg ½ tsp cinnamon salt ¼ cup pine nuts 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped Olive oil for brushing.
Making the Dough
- Dissolve the yeast in a quarter cup of warm water with a half teaspoonful of sugar and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- In a mixer bowl or a medium mixing dish, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, then add the oil and yeast mixture. Work the wet items into the dry ingredients gradually, adding 1/2 cup of water at a time.
- Using your hand or with the dough hook, knead it in a mixer until the dough is soft, smooth, and sticky to the touch (but not wet). The kneading by hand may be difficult at first because it’s such a wet mess, but as you knead, the dough will firm up.
- In a large mixing bowl, cover the dough with oil and set aside. Allow to rise in a warm location for 90 minutes to double in size. Don’t let the dough over proof.
Making the Filling
- In a medium mixing dish, combine the salt and spinach. Allow to macerate for 10 minutes, then press as much liquid from the spinach as possible. Discard any juice that may have accumulated. If using fresh spinach, squeeze out as much juice as possible and discard it.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the spinach and onion. Before filling the pastry, add cinnamon or allspice, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. If using frozen spinach, add salt (fresh has already been salted to remove the juice). Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover two solid baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Remove a portion of the remaining dough and roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness on a dry surface (see here). Allow for contraction by gently removing the dough from the edges. Cut 4-inch circles from the dough. Cover with plastic wrap while kneading any extra scraps together, then set aside.
- Fill each circle of dough with a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle. To keep the filling in the center, lower the spoon with the filling over the center of the dough (parallel to it) and use your fingers to slide off any excess from the spoon and into the dough round. Three nuts should be placed on top of each mound of filling.
- Fold the dough over the filling and pinch it into a triangle three times. Firmly close the dough.
- Place the fatayer on a baking sheet and oil the dough well with olive oil. Bake for 18-20 minutes in a conventional oven, or convection bake for 5 minutes to make the bread darker.
- Repeat the procedure with the other half of the dough, then with the scraps that have been kneaded together and allowed to rest for a few minutes before rolling out.
We appreciate these as a warm or at room temperature side, as well as with a cup of mint tea for the ideal brunch. They are also suitable to eat cold. They may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for two days before being put in the fridge or freezer to be consumed later.
Fatayer dough is used to make a variety of dishes, including fatayer sandwiches. There are many more ways to fill or top your fatayer beyond just meat and cheese.
If you’re experimenting with different fillings, make an effort to appreciate the spinach pies, which are tart and entirely vegan. These are generally made into a triangle form but you may simply bake the dough with the spinach filling on top for a simpler method.
Another great alternative is za’atar (a combination of dried ground oregano, thyme, sesame, and sumac) combined with olive oil to form a fantastic fatayer topping. It’s really easy to make and yet another delicious vegan option.
Chicken and Potato
Although this version is not conventional, it’s become more popular recently in Arabic bakeries.
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The Fatayer Shop provides the best fatayers that do not disappoint, and at the same time, the best fast food restaurant service you would ever experience. What’s better than a crispy dough filled with various ingredients such as spinach, onions, and cheese? The Fatayer Shop uses fresh produce and premium meats which makes it even more irresistible!