Fatayer Bi Sabanekh (spinach pies) are triangular shape pies that are stuffed with spinach, onions, sumac and lemon juice. These pies are popular in the Levant region. Don’t mistake them with the Greek spinach pies that is made with phyllo dough and stuffed with spinach and cheese. Sumac(comes from from small shrubs has a red color and is grounded and used in many Middle Eastern Dishes for its sour taste)is a major ingredient in this recipe because it gives the sour taste that pies need without adding a lot of lemon juice that you want to avoid, because if the stuffing is to liquidy it will make the pies open while baking in the oven. Some people even add some citric acid instead of lemon juice. I remember when we used to make fatayer at home that is usually fatayer bi sababnekh and sfeeha (meat pies), It would be really like a half day of work for my mom. She usually made these during the weekend. My mom would be infront of the TV making the pies and my dad was in charge of the baking. I still remember how he used to put them in a big plastic red bowl when they came out from the oven and cover them with a blanket. Even food can sometimes bring memories back from your childhood.
*** I used only 1/3 of the dough to make the spinach pies, I used the rest to make some meat pies and mini pizzas. 1/3 of this dough makes about 23 small spinach pies, if you are not going to use the rest of the dough you can freeze it for later use.
For the Dough:
6 cups flour
1 tbsp. dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup warm water
1 ½ cups warm milk
For the stuffing:
11 oz. spinach leaves
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion finely diced (about ½ cup + tbsp.)
1 ½ tbsp. sumac
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
** if you like it more sour you can add about ½ tbsp. of sumac and 1 tbsp. lemon juice)\
To make the dough:
Sprinkle the dry yeast and the sugar in the warm water and let it rest for 10 minutes until foamy.
In a stand up mixer bowl, Put flour and salt and with the dough attachment, mix the ingredients for 30 seconds.
Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and pour the over, the flour and salt . And then slowly pour the warm milk, (you may not use it all). Stop when the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.
***If kneading by hand, make a hole in the flour and pour the yeast mixture and the slowly pour the warm milk and knead until a dough comes together kne
ad for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough to 3 balls. Cover and Let it rest for 1.5 hours until it double in size.
To make Stuffing:
If spinach are not already washed and trimmed. Wash and trim stems.
Chop the spinach leaves, put them in a strainer and sprinkle 1 tsp. of salt over the spinach leaves. Wait 10 minutes. Then by hand take a handful of the leaves and squeeze all the liquid out of it. Put Squeezed spinach leaves on paper towel and dry any liquid left. *** This is an important step so the spinach pies don not open while baking.
In a bowl, mix the the spinach leaves and all the other ingredients.
To make the Fatayer:
Lightly spray your work space with some oil, Do not use flour or you will not be able to close the pies.
Roll your dough out in a circle, this dough can be easily stretched by hand.
Using a rim of glass or big cookie cutter, staring cutting circles as close as to each other so you will get use as much of the dough in one time as possible.
Take the extra dough that will come out after cutting the circles, roll in a bowl and let it rest until you are ready to use.
Put about 1 tbsp. of stuffing in the middle of the dough circles.
Lift the edges of the dough up and pull them against each other and seal pressing with your fingertips really tightly. Do not let the edges of the dough touch the stuffing because if the dough gets wet, you won’t get a good seal.
Repeat the same steps with the lefts over batch.
Place your pies in oiled baking sheets. Let them rest while you heat the oven.
Heat you oven to 400° and bake pies for 15-18 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.