Fatayer Bi Sabanekh – Spinach Turnovers

My Grandmother wrote in 1969 that she sampled this little snack on a picnic in the mountains. Although she was in Austria at the time, this is a Lebanese snack. Now, forty years on, I find myself making them for a picnic of my own. These are little spinach triangle pies, bursting with the flavours of lemon and cinnamon. The trick is to get the pastry as thin as you dare. You may, like me, consider this a peculiar mixture of flavours – but it’s a delightful little edible and really worth a taste.

 

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
7 cups bread flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried fast action yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
Cold water

For the filling:
2lbs fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts
Lemon Juice
Sumac
Salt and pepper
Cinnamon

 

Method:
Add a tablespoon of warm water to the sugar and the yeast to activate it. Stir in the olive oil, flour and salt. Slowly add the water a tablespoon at a time and bring together the mix to form a stiff dough. Add a little more flour to compensate if you make the dough too wet.  Cover with a damp cloth and let it stand in warm place for half and hour, before rolling out on a floured surface. It needs to be thin – no more than half a centimetre thick. With a round pastry cutter, cut two-inch diameter circles. Combine the filling ingredients together and spoon a tablespoon into the middle of each pastry disc and push three sides of the circle into the centre, pressing the edges together firmly.

Place on a baking sheet and cook in a hot oven until the edges of the triangle have caught a little colour and the pastry is golden.

Serve hot or cold with slices of lemon to squeeze into the centre. It’s a great accompaniment with lamb, some full flavoured meat (cold is best). Although it may be considered a crossing of various cultures, I also like having it on a kind of mezze platter, with my favourite sliced smoked meats or a bit of leftover roast lamb, roasted aubergines and garlic lathered in olive oil and with a bowl of fresh tzatziki dip.

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