The word "fatayer" in Arabic means "cake". But, if you want to imagine them more specifically, think about empanadas. The fatayer is cakes made of dough and filled with different stews, based on meats, cheeses, or vegetables, which are baked.
This recipe for Arab cakes is surely the forerunner of Western empanadas in all its forms. But, the fatayer fold is a bit different than traditional empanadas. Fatayers are found in the kitchens of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine.
In Chile and Argentina, there is a typical preparation very like fatayer. The famous Chilean empanadas. These patties share many common characteristics with the Fatayer. The dough, the filling, and the cooking method. Yet, Chilean seasonings are a far cry from the aromatic spices of Middle Eastern cuisine.
In this post, we will have two special sections, for this delicious dish that can be eaten for breakfast or as a Mezze.
1. The classic vegetarian fillings, as in our case. Swiss chard sauteed with garlic, onions, scallions, bell pepper, and lots of seasonings. This same recipe is prepared by substituting spinach for chard. For a crunchier filling, it is important to add walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds. The variation of textures between the dough, the soft filling, and the crunchy nuts is a delight.
2. Beef and lamb. Our favorite fatayer is the lamb ones. Lots of spices and minced beef or lamb. You should not miss the sautéed vegetables and the nuts for the crunchy touch. They are also prepared baked.
Dough for the Fatayers
Fatayer is usually prepared with two differentiated types of dough. The first dough is leavening, rich in wheat, yeast, and very fluffy. The consistency is like pizza dough. This is the version that we prepare for this recipe.
There is a second type of dough that is widely used, and it is a mixture of sable dough with a puff pastry. This dough is oilier, it has a lot of flavors. Fatayer made with this type of dough crumble in your mouth as soon as you bite into them. It has the defect of being greasier, but the virtue of having much more flavor.
10 large fatayer
3 ¼ of wheat flour, 350 g.
1 teaspoon of dry yeast. If you have fresh yeast, use 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons of sugar
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup of warm fluid milk
½ cup of water
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages of chard, 300 g.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, 100 g.
3 spring onion, 120 g.
1 red pepper, 140 g.
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of sumac
½ teaspoon of pepper
½ teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
½ cup pine nuts
1 egg, to varnish
For the dough:
For the filling:
For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, place the warm milk. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the milk. Stir with a teaspoon and let this mixture rest for approximately ten minutes until bubbles form on the surface.
When the yeast is active, add olive oil and water. Mix very well.
Then, little by little with a sieve add the flour. Stir with a spoon first. When you can't stir anymore, knead. It is necessary to knead for at least ten minutes. Sprinkle the salt on top and continue kneading until the dough comes off easily from your hands and the entire surface. Then, put it in a bowl, covered with a kitchen towel. Let it rest for about thirty minutes until it doubles in size
For the filling:
Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the garlic and mash it. Cut the spring onion into thin slices. Remove the stem from the paprika, extract the veins and seeds, and cut it into small squares.
Wash the chard very well. Cut the hardest part of the stem and discard it. Slice the leaves finely, into pieces of a maximum of two centimeters.
In a skillet, add olive oil. When it starts to heat up, add the onion, garlic, and spring onions. Sauté them for about five minutes until the onions are translucent.
Next, add the chard, and all the seasonings: sumac, pepper, cumin, and salt. Cook the chard uncovered for about seven minutes over high heat. When all the liquid has evaporated, you'll know the chard is done. Add the pine nuts on top. Turn them off and reserve
To do the fatayer:
Preheat the oven to 160 ° C / 320 ° F. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. If you don't have paper, cover with a thin layer of butter and then sprinkle flour all over the surface.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a flat surface, such as a table. Knead it for about three minutes until it loses excess air. Then divide the dough into ten equal parts. If you have a scale, you can weigh the portions. Each ball of dough should weigh approximately 60 grams.
Sprinkle some flour on the table. Then, take a ball of dough, and flatten it with the rolling pin, to a maximum thickness of three millimeters. Place two generous tablespoons of filling in the center of the dough. Then fold two sides of the dough towards the center and squeeze them with your fingers to close. Finally, pick up the third side and close it like forming a triangle. Repeat this procedure with all the dough.
Place the fatayer on the baking sheet with a separation of at least three centimeters from one another. Let them rest for another fifteen minutes.
Before taking to baking, beat the egg, and glaze the fatayer on top.
Bake for about twenty to twenty-five minutes until golden brown on top.