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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Fatayir bi Sabanich and Sambousak

I had help from the kids making these, so they aren't as neat as normal, but you will make them more neatly, I am sure.
Fatayir bi Sabanich

This yeasted pastry with spinach in it is rich and delicious. This recipe makes about 80 - 85 triangle pastries. I sometimes double it.

6 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey

2/3 cup olive oil
2 pounds chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
16 scallions, finely chopped
2 bunches fresh dill, finely minced
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups toasted pine nuts

semolina or corn meal for pans

To make the dough, you can use your bread machine on the dough cycle, or mix it in a stand mixer with the dough hook, or by hand.

If mixing by hand or with a mixer, combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, and knead until you have a soft, slightly sticky, and pliable dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

While the dough is rising, you can prepare the filling. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium high and add the oil. Immediately add the spinach and scallions, and cook until the greens are wilted and soft. Add the dill, garlic, sumac, and salt, and cook, stirring, a minute or two more. Remove from heat and add toasted pine nuts, mixing thoroughly. Allow to cool slightly while preparing the pans and dough for shaping.

Preheat oven to 425 F and prepare several baking sheets by sprinkling with semolina or corn meal.

Segment the dough into roughly 85 pieces. You may be able to get more rolls by making the pieces smaller, but you don't want them too small. Roll out into flat, circular discs, and place a spoonful of the spinach filling in the middle. Bring up the sides, one by one, to make the circle into a triangle, and pinch the seams tightly closed. You will want to almost enclose the spinach, because the dough will open up as it rises and bakes. You may wish to keep a bowl of cold water nearby to help "glue" the dough together. Place each roll about an inch and a half apart on the prepared pans, and bake for 15 minutes, until fully baked and slightly browned. Cool in the pan about 5 minutes, brush off the excess semolina and serve. These are equally good room temperature and cold.


This is a meat filled, deep fried pastry that is sort of like a deep fried empanada. The dough is a butter and egg rich pastry, and the filling is seasoned ground lamb or beef. This is a large recipe. In some ways, if you are going to go to the trouble of making it, you might as well make a lot. The unfried pastries can be frozen in a single sheet, and put in a freezer bag for cooking at a later time. Both the dough and the filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also prepare these up to shaping and hold in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before frying, so if it is more convenient to make them in the morning and fry for dinner, that is possible. I honestly don't know exactly how many this makes, I think it is close to 100, because someone is always eating them as I place them on the platter.

10 cups pastry flour
1 pound salted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk

Muffroom (filling):
3 pounds ground lamb or beef
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
18 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 bunches parsley, finely minced
2 bunches fresh dill, finely minced

oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix the flour, butter, and egg. Mix in 1 1/2 cups milk, until a soft, pliable dough is formed. Add more milk, a little at a time, if necessary. Set aside in a cool place, or in a bag in the refrigerator while making the muffroom.

Place the meat, onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large skillet and fry together, breaking up the meat, until a medium fine crumble of browned meat and softened vegetables is formed. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Stir in the parsley and dill.

Cut and shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll these out to circles, and fill with a teaspoon or so of the filling. Fold the circle in half, and crimp the edges to seal.

When you are ready to fry, heat the oil over medium high heat, and when a piece of bread sizzles immediately when placed in the oil, start carefully placing the sambousak in the oil. You want to fill the pan, but still have room to turn them over. Fry until golden on one side, and turn over until the other side is as well. This usually takes me a little more than a minute on the first side, and a little less than a minute on the second. Transfer to a rack over a pan to drain, and serve. These are also great cold from the fridge the next day.

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