Fatayer as they are called here belong to the category of savory pastries and can be found at every corner bakery in Beirut and throughout Lebanon. Their taste and quality varies, of course. You can make them with store-bought dough, even frozen biscuit dough in a can; or you can devote 2 or 3 hours on a weekend and make them from scratch.
Which ones do you think you (and your family or friends) would enjoy more?
I have discovered that the best ones are stuffed with fresh greens, be it spinach, or purslane or any other greens. No need to cook them beforehand!
The greens are washed and dried and macerate in salt for 30 minutes; the salt draws out their water, they are squeezed dry again and dressed with sumac, chopped onion, lemon juice and olive oil.
Another discovery: If you are using fresh greens, keep the stems; chop the stems along with the leaves.
Purslane aka bakleh is invading all of the kitchen garden; since it is a super nutritious green, why not use it to make these fatayers? You can also use dandelions or wild sorrel leaves, collard greens or turnip greens, swiss chard or anything green.
- 3 cups Flour 00 (all-purpose will be fine)
- 2 cups cake flour (can be substituted for all-purpose)
- 1 Tablespoon of dry yeast (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup oil (canola, or olive oil)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 pounds of purslane, stems removed (NOTE: Can substitute spinach, collard greens, beet greens or any other wild or cultivated greens)
- 4 medium onions (about 12 oz.)
- 1/4 cup sumac
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)
- Dressing for the stuffing:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (bottled is OK)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1. Start by making the dough. Proof the yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. While waiting for the yeast to proof, mix the oil with the flour (or flours, if using more than one type), salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with the dough hook or by hand. When the yeast has bubbled, add it to the flour mixture, and mix in the water gradually. Knead the dough until it is as smooth as baby skin. Let it rest for one hour or more, while you mix the stuffing.
- 2. Make the stuffing: Chop the onions very fine and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Make the dressing: mix the oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses in the quantities suggested.
- Wash and drain the greens; place in a chopping board and cut in small shreds including the stems. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes; then squeeze to drain the greens of any extra water and transfer to a bowl; add the dressing and toss to mix. Squeeze the onions dry and add them to the purslane along with the pine nuts.
- Cut the dough in half and spread it on a cold and greased counter as thin as possible, about 1/16 of an inch. If you can’t make them that thin, it is OK, just don’t make them too thick (no more than than 1/8in)
- Cut rounds with a 4 in. cookie cutter and start spreading 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 in greased cookie sheets and bake them after 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 375F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the top and bottoms are golden. Check after 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
- Cool and eat at room temperature or slightly warm. These can be frozen for two weeks.
NOTE: You can make the dough and skip the yeast; they will turn out fine.