A recipe for Fatayer bi Sabanekh (فطاير السبانخ, Lebanese Spinach Pies)! These little triangle-shaped pies are filled with a savory sumac-spiced spinach mixture and baked until golden.
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Fatayer are small, Middle-Eastern pies made with a variety of shapes and fillings. Today I am sharing a recipe for Fatayer bi Sabanekh (Lebanese Spinach Pies)!
For this version, the spinach is combined with onions and seasoned with sumac, paprika, salt, and pepper. It is lightly coated in a light lemon and olive oil dressing, then sealed inside circles of dough and baking until golden and flaky. Its small size makes the Fatayer a perfect appetizer or light snack.
This recipe makes about 34 pies. Any remaining Fatayer bi Sabanekh can be frozen for future use. After baking, allow them to come to room temperature. Place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer. Once frozen through, they can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag and stored for up to a couple of months. Reheat straight from the freezer in a 350˚F (180˚C) oven until heated through.
A Few Tips
When preparing the filling, make sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the spinach and onion. Too much water will make the Fatayer pop open and become soggy.
When rolling the dough, try to make it as thin as possible- about 1/8 of an inch (3 mm). Cut the circles as close together as possible. You can collect the excess dough and roll out again, but it will be more difficult the second time.
Place the filling directly in the center of each circle without letting it touch the edges. If it touches the sides, then they won’t be able to seal as well.
For a little heat, add a pinch or two of cayenne or crushed red pepper. Some recipes also add diced tomatoes or cheese.
Sumac is a spice made from the berries of the sumac bush and is common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is available in berry or ground form. Sumac has a lightly bitter, lemony taste and a deep brownish red hue.
There are no good substitutes for the flavor. I have been able to find it in the spice section of some international grocery stores and recently at Whole Foods. Watch the ingredient list and color of sumac. It should be a deep red. Bright red spices may have added coloring and some have added salt. It is also available of Amazon: Ziyad Sumac.
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Fatayer bi Sabanekh (Lebanese Spinach Pies) Recipe
Fatayer bi Sabanekh (Lebanese Spinach Pies)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (237 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F (40-46˚C)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) canola oil
- 1 pound (450 grams) fresh spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large sweet onion finely diced
- 2 tablespoons (16 grams) sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) pomegranate molasses
To make the dough:
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water. Stir to combine, then let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Gradually stir in the oil, followed by the yeast with water until dough comes together.
- On a lightly greased surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Place in large bowl, cover, and let rest until doubled, 1-2 hours.
To prepare the spinach filling:
- Rinse the spinach and dry well to remove any moisture. Chop, place in a bowl, and toss with the 1 teaspoon salt.
- Using your hands, massage the salt into the spinach to coat thoroughly. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Squeeze excess moisture out of the finely chopped onion and place in a large bowl. Add the sumac, paprika, and black pepper.
- Squeeze the rested spinach well to remove as much moisture as possible and place in the bowl with the onions. Toss to coat with the onions and spices.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses. Pour over the spinach mixture and toss to coat immediately before assembling. Adjust spices to taste.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
- Divide the rested dough in half, covering one half with a towel. On a large, lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a thin sheet about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Use a 3 1/2 inch (9 cm) wide round cutter to cut out circles of dough.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle, being careful to not let it touch the edges. Top with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Pull up three edges of the circle over the center of the filling and pinch well to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining circles and the other half of dough.
- Brush the tops of the assembled Fatayer with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven until golden, 15-20 minutes.
- Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature.