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Spinach fatayer on a platter with the top one open to reveal spinach and onion stuffing
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Authentic Homemade Fatayer (Spinach and Cheese)

Fatayer are savoury middle eastern pies filled with either a tangy spinach filling, delicious cheesy filling or meat. They are delicious as a snack or for breakfast!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine middle eastern
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword Fatayer
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 18 pieces
Calories 147kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

For 1 batch of the dough

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups, measured using a spoon and levelled off flat
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the spinach filling (for 1 batch of dough)

  • 300 g frozen spinach thawed
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

For the cheese filling (for 1 batch of dough)

  • 100 g shredded mozzarella
  • 100 g feta cheese crumbled
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds optional

Instructions

To make the dough

  • Start by preheating your oven to 375F
  • Mix together the warm water and yeast in a bowl and set aside for 2 minutes to proof
  • In a bowl, add 1 cup of the flour (not all of it), the sugar, and the water and yeast mixture. Mix together well, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes (you can move on to the filling at this point)
  • After 10 minutes, the mixture will look a bit bubbly. Add to it the rest of the flour (1.5 cups), the olive oil, and the salt and mix well using your spoon to bring the dough together
  • Then use your hands to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes and bring it together. It will be a soft dough and slightly sticky (which will give us that fluffy texture) so you can add the extra 2 tablespoons of flour as you knead it. Feel free to do this step in a stand mixer and a dough hook as well.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Allow it to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and shape into equal sized balls. I weighed out roughly 40g per dough ball using a kitchen scale, but you can eye this if you like. Cover the balls and allow them to proof for another 10-15 minutes before shaping

To make the spinach fatayer

  • Thaw out the frozen spinach in advance. If you're working last minute, feel free to use the microwave; place in a microwave safe bowl and thaw in 1 minute intervals. See notes if you're using fresh spinach.
  • Meanwhile, cook the diced onions on a skillet using the olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until they're soft and translucent
  • Place the thawed spinach in a sieve over a bowl and squeeze out as much water as possible using a spoon or your hands. This step is really important to avoid a soggy fatayer that will open up in the oven!
  • Place the squeezed spinach in the skillet with the onions and add the sumac, salt and pepper. Continue to cook the mixture for another 5 minutes to further dry it up from any moisture. Taste and adjust; if you like it more tart, add a squeeze of lemon
  • Roll out the dough balls into a very thin circle. Place 1.5 tablespoons of the filling in the middle and fold together two sides, then bring up the third to form a triangle. Be sure to reference the photos in the post. Pinch the sides together really tightly and make sure the filling doesn't touch the edges to ensure a secure seal

To make the cheese fatayer

  • Mix together the grated mozzarella, crumbled feta, chopped parsley and nigella seeds well
  • Roll out the dough balls into a long and thin oval. Place 1.5 tablespoons of the filling in the middle and fold over the top and bottom tips of the oval to form a "boat" shape. Be sure to reference the photos in the post.

Baking the fatayer

  • Place the fatayer gently on a floured baking sheet. You may choose to brush them with eggwash, but this is optional if you want a shinier surface. I personally skip this step
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven on the bottom rack for 10-15 minutes, until you check the bottom and it is golden brown
  • Move the pan to the middle rack and switch the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes but stay right beside it! The tops will brown to a light golden very quickly and that's when you can remove them
  • Place them on a platter or a tray and immediately cover them with a towel to ensure they don't dry out and stay soft. Serve warm and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • When measuring your flour, make sure you use a spoon to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off (as opposed to scooping it out using the measuring cup). This will ensure you have an accurate measurement.
  • If you're using fresh spinach, be sure to use 2.5x the amount called for in the recipe. To prepare it, chop it up then sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt on top and set it aside for 10 minutes. This will draw out its moisture. Squeeze it dry after the 10 minutes as best as you can and continue with the recipe steps.
  • Make sure you roll out the dough to a thin layer because the dough will thicken slightly in the oven. You want to ensure you have a proper dough to filling ratio.
  • Ensure you pinch the dough closed very well and that no filling touches the edges where the seal will be. This will help ensure they don't open up in the oven.
  • When the fatayer come out of the oven, cover them with a towel to ensure they don't dry out and stay soft.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2086IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg