Last night I decided it would be a good idea to make spinach fatayer. Fatayer is a Lebanese turnover that is usually stuffed with meat or spinach and sometimes cheese. The spinach are by far my favourite.
I don’t make these very often because:
1) They take a hell of a lot of time. – I started at 8:00 and the fatayer were done and the kitchen was clean at 10:30. The last batch was extremely sloppy and I was practically falling asleep while I worked on it.
2) My aunt’s fatayer are always better. – Always.
But, I had a craving and my cravings hardly go unacknowledged so it was well worth the time and effort. And, this time around they turned out pretty damn good, I must say. Matt and I are chomping through half the batch (the ugly half) and the rest I tossed in the freezer to be defrosted for a potluck party we’re hosting this weekend. They make kickass appetizers or snacks.
I used a recipe from Joumana at Taste of Beirut and took her advice to roll out the dough very thin. I’m used to eating fatayer that are doughy but I really liked how thin the dough in this version; it really made the tart spinach filling stand out (although, with my long nails, it was a bitch to work with).
I don’t think I got my dough quite as thin as Joumana’s, but I still liked the result.
From Taste of Beirut; Makes ~50
5 cups All Purpose Flour
1 T dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 T salt
3/4 cup oil (canola, or olive oil)
1 1/2 cups water
2 lb of frozen chopped spinach
1 large white onion
1/4 cup sumac
1 t paprika
pinch of cayenne
1 T salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T pomegranate molasses
Combine the yeast with 3/4 cup of the warm water and the 1 T sugar to proof. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the oil and remaining water with the flour. When the yeast has bubbled, add it to the flour mixture. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is as smooth and soft (about 5-6 minutes by hand). Let it proof until it has doubled in size, while you mix the stuffing.
- Defrost and thaw out the spinach. Place them in a colander and squeeze them out very thoroughly. You want the spinach very dry.
- Finely chop the onions and place them in a bowl with the spinach. Add the spices.
- In a separate small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juices and pomegranate molasses. Pour this dressing onto the spinach mixture a little at a time until the spinach is just moistened (too much and the turnovers will open when baking).
- Now back to the dough. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dough very thin on a greased counter 1/16” thick (no more than 1/8” thick). Using a 4” cookie cutter, cut the rolled out dough into rounds. Place about one tablespoon of stuffing on each fatayer.
- Lift the fatayer and pinch 2 ends first and then the third to form a pyramid.
- Place them on cookie sheets and bake them for 18 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F until the top and bottoms are golden.
- Cool and eat at room temperature or slightly warm. (I like to put them in the toaster oven if I eat them the next day) These freeze really well.