Fatayer Jebneh “Cheese pastry” is one of my most viewed posts up to date. Ever since I posted that recipe, the request I received the most was one for the recipe for Fatayer sabanekh (spinach stuffed pastry triangles) and a dependable dough recipe that will work well with all forms of fatayer. I have been working on a dough recipe that will work well with all forms of fatayer and finally I have one that I am happy with. It remains soft and fluffy even after cooling and it holds its shape really well during baking. So today is finally the time to share the recipe so many of you asked for. Thank you for your patience.
What makes fatayer so special you may ask?
Well for a start, they make perfect portable food for a trip, to pack in the lunch box or to eat on the go when you are in a hurry in the morning.
You can make fatayer up to a few days ahead of a party or for guests and store them in the fridge. All you have to do is heat them and they are ready. Stress free entertaining 🙂
Fatayer can be stored in the fridge for weeks and even months. Again, you are a few minutes away from a wonderful meal, all you have to do is heat them.
This dough recipe is now my go to recipe for all forms of savory fatayer. The baked pastry is soft and fluffy and remains so even after storing in the fridge for a few days. This dough recipe also holds its shape well with baking and it is easy to handle so if you want to form your pastry into triangles, half moons or spirals, this is the dough for you.
Spinach pastry triangles (Fatayer sabanekh)
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of yogurt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) olive oil
pinch of salt
one sachet (2 1/2 teaspoons) dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (see notes) (divided into 1/4 cup for proofing the yeast and 3/4 for kneading the dough)
1 kg fresh spinach (or 500 g frozen spinach with the water squeezed out)(See notes)
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 green onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sumac (optional)
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid or (depending on how tart you like the filling to be) See notes
- To make the dough
- Proof the yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. (proofing the yeast means mixing it with sugar and water and waiting for it to foam and bubble. Foaming means that the yeast is active and good to work with and this should take 10-15 minutes at most)
- While waiting for the yeast to proof, add the salt to the flour then add the olive oil and rub it into the flour with your finger tips.
- Add the yogurt and again rub it into the flour.
- When the yeast has bubbled, add it to the flour mixture, and mix
- Gradually add in the water, you may need a little more of less as different flours absorb water differently. You need to add water and knead the dough until it is smooth and round.
- Brush a bowl with a little oil, place the dough in it and drizzle some more oil to keep it from drying
- Let the dough rise in warm place covered with a moist towel until it doubles in size. This should take about one hour depending on how warm or cold the weather is
- Prepare the stuffing
- If using frozen spinach: Defrost and thaw out the spinach. Place it in a colander and squeeze out as much juice as possible. You want it to be very dry.
- If using fresh spinach: chop the spinach then place it in a pot and wilt for 2-5 minutes over medium low heat. Allow the spinach to cool then squeeze out as much juice as possible. You want the spinach to be very dry
- Chop the onions very fine and add them to the spinach.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and sumac. Add the spices and lemon juice immediately before stuffing the pastry. If you do it too early the stuffing will be too wet. If the stuffing is too wet, it will open up the turnovers.
- Cut the dough into egg sized pieces.
- Roll out each piece into a circle
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing
- Pinch 2 ends first and then the third to form a pyramid.(If you have a little trouble with sealing the dough, dip your finger tips in flour.)
- Place the fatayer on a greased cookie sheets and make sure all the fatayer are sealed well .
- Bake them on the middle rack of a preheated oven at 270 C until the bottoms are golden.
Update: lately I bake the fatayer in the middle of the oven after preheating the oven to 220 C
- Turn on the broiler until the tops are golden
- Cool the fatayer on a wire rack covered with a clean dry kitchen towel
Water amount in the dough
The amount of water required differs with the type of flour and the type of yogurt that you use, start with 1 cup , if the dough is still dry and crumbly add water slowly while kneading till you get a smooth elastic dough (you may require 1/4 to 1/2 extra cups but remember, add them slowly)
Can I add other greens to the spinach pastry stuffing? Yes, you can replace part of the spinach with oregano, collard green or kale
Lemon juice or citric acid traditionally these spinach fatayer were made with lemon juice and consumed immediately. The problem with using lemon juice if that it makes the filling wet and this can cause the pastry triangles to open during baking or to turn slightly soggy if you store them for a couple of days. To get the tart taste without the extra fluid you can use citric acid. Citric acid is a week organic acid that is used to add a tart or sour taste to food and it is used to acidify milk in cheese making.
Tart or mild the use of sumac, citric acid or lemon juice is meant to add a tart taste to the spinach filling. You can make these spinach triangles without them and enjoy a mild fatayer. If you choose to use them, the amount is up to your taste. The amounts in the recipe are suggestions. Add them little by little and adjust the amounts according to your taste.
Shapes: You can shape these fatayer or pastry in any shape you like. Any form that encloses the filling is fine.Here is one more suggestion on how to fold them
The size: you can make these triangles small if you plan on serving them to guests or at a party. You can also make them big if you like. It is up to your taste