Fatayer (Middle Eastern Savory Hand Pies)

Popular in various versions throughout the Middle East, these savory stuffed pies feature an aromatic spiced filling in a light-textured yeast-based crust. Fatayer can be served as either a side or main dish; they're especially popular at brunch, served with warm mint tea. While the recipe below yields 24 fatayer each of the fillings will fill 12 pastries — so it’s simple to satisfy a variety of tastes by mixing and matching. Our thanks to Heifa from Fufu’s Kitchen for sharing this recipe with us.

Prep
1 hr 5 mins
Bake
15 to 20 mins
Total
2 hrs 45 mins
Yield
24 savory hand pies
Fatayer (Middle Eastern Savory Hand Pies)

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a smooth, bouncy, slightly sticky dough. If the dough is extremely sticky add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s easier to work with.

  3. Immediately divide the dough into 24 pieces (about 53g each) and roll into balls.

  4. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise until puffy, about 60 minutes. While the dough is rising, prepare the fillings.

  5. To make the cheese filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. To make the meat filling: Pulse the onion, garlic, tomato, and parsley in a food processor. Strain and discard any excess liquid, and combine the chopped vegetables with the remaining filling ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  7. To assemble: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

  8. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, hand stretch or use a rolling pin to stretch and roll it into a circle about 4” to 5” in diameter.

  9. For the cheese pies: Stretch the circle into an oblong shape. Spread 2 tablespoons (about 36g) filling down the center of the dough to within 1” of the edges.

  10. Pull the dough’s edges up around the filling and pinch the ends together to create a boat shape; this will keep the melting cheese contained. Brush the edges with egg wash and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

  11. For the meat pies: Add 3 tablespoons (about 50g) of the raw meat filling to the center of the circle. Spread across the top, pressing gently into the dough, leaving about 1” of dough bare around the edges. Brush the edges with egg wash and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

  12. Bake the fatayer until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

  13. Storage information: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat before serving.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Yes, you read that right: The meat filling is meant to be raw when topping the dough but rest assured, it’ll come out of the oven fully cooked. 

  • Here are two more topping options; each is enough for 12 fatayer. 

    Spinach filling

    - 10-ounce package (284g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
    - 2 tablespoons (14g) ground sumac
    - 1/2 cup (71g) finely diced onion
    - 2 tablespoons (28g) lemon juice
    - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
    - 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil 
    - 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Dollop a scant 2 tablespoons (about 30g) of the filling onto the center of the circle. Imagine turning the circle into a triangle; bring three of the "sides" together to meet in the center, completely enclosing the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal. Brush the sealed triangle with egg wash and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake as directed.

    Za’atar filling

    - 1/2 cup (100g) olive oil
    - 3 tablespoons za’atar seasoning

    Mix the oil and seasoning. Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of the seasoned oil over the dough, leaving about 1” bare around the edges. Brush the exposed edges with egg wash, transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and bake as directed.