Years ago my Grandmother Sarah prepared a small collection of her favorite recipes from which several cousins created a treasured cookbook for all of our family to enjoy. As I opened her cookbook recently, right there on page five was her recipe for fatayer or meat pastry. Welcome to my home as I share my version of this delicious pastry with you.
Meat pastries are found in many world cuisines and were common in my childhood home. There seems to be a particular protocol in making them within families and cultures. In our home and that of my Mother’s family, bread dough was filled with a seasoned, raw beef or lamb and onion mixture and formed into a triangle shape with the dough edges pinched closed. They were about the size of your hand, prepared in large quantities and baked to a beautiful golden brown. The flavor from the meat baking into the bread made them especially delicious.
1 pound of beef such as coarsely ground round or finely diced and trimmed ribeye steak
½ Cup diced onion
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Mix in a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge while preparing the dough.
1 Cup hot water (105˚ to 110˚)
½ Tbsp dry yeast
½ Tbsp sugar
Mix and let stand until the yeast starts to bloom.
Add 1 Tbsp oil such as canola or corn oil,
2 ¼ Cups flour
1 tsp salt
Mix thoroughly and knead for 10 minutes. Set aside to rise until doubled. Once doubled, punch down. Use the remaining ¼ cup to dust a surface for rolling, place the dough on the floured surface and dust the top of the dough to prevent sticking.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Cut rounds of dough with a 4” round biscuit or cookie cutter.
Enlarge each round of dough slightly by pressing it out with your fingertips or lifting and stretching the dough. Try to leave a pillow of dough in the center while pressing out the edges.
Place at least a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of the dough round. To form a triangle pastry, lift three sides of the dough up over the meat to the center and pinch it closed at the seams forming a little triangle shaped pastry. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in preheated 350˚ oven for 18-20 minutes. Once you remove the pastries from the oven, you may spritz or dab the top of each with a small amount of olive oil.
I also filled pastries with a spinach and pine nut mixture:
Rough chop 4 cups of baby spinach.
Add ½ tsp salt
Set aside for approximately an hour to let the spinach wilt. Firmly squeeze the water from the spinach. Pull the spinach apart, fluff and add:
¼ cup chopped onion
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp olive oil
Fill your pastries, seal, and bake.
Venturing completely away from the original flavors and into another country, I also made Rueben pastries with deli corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. I squeezed the juice from the sauerkraut before filling the dough and served with Thousand Island dressing.
Do you have a favorite food that reminds you of home? Share and comment! We would love to hear from you! Enjoy!