How to make fatayer

Cheese Fatayer- How to make Middle Eastern Cheese Pies

These cheesy middle eastern pies are great for breakfast or snack. Cheese Fatayer is an excellent addition to your brunch, lunchbox, or to your Iftar table.

How to make fatayer

There are many choices for Middle Eastern snacks and, fatayer is one of them, fatayer is a pie stuffed with minced meat/spinach/cheese. I like all three flavors but my favorite is cheese fatayer. It comes in different shapes and sizes like triangular shape for spinach fatayer and boat shape for meat or cheese. Originally cheese fatayer is made with feta and Akawi cheese, but if you cannot find Akawi cheese you could use mozzarella which is the closest. I have used both and flavor-wise, not much of a difference.

I am a cheese lover, and I always look forward to trying different cheese. The combination of bread and cheese is unbeatable when it comes to deliciousness. Besides, bread and cheese are one of my weakness, and I can have them any time of the day.

Fatayer is the first Arabic food I tried when I came to Qatar. The bread was soft and pillowy. The filling was slightly salty and tangy with a creamy texture that melts in your mouth. Hence Cheese Fatayers became one of my favorite food.
 

How to make fatayer- Middle Eastern Cheese Pies

It is a great addition for kids lunch boxes, brunches, and breakfast. Try making these for this Eid for your Iftar table. These pies can be made ahead, frozen and reheated.

Now let’s see how to make these Middle Eastern Cheese Pies/ fatayer.

The Dough

The rising time for this recipe is slightly different from the basic rising method. The first rise is only 30 minutes and, the second rise is 45 minutes.

Middle Eastern pies

Ingredients 

Ingredients for the Dough

I used instant yeast for this dough recipe. It is important to use full-fat yogurt and milk. Avoid using low fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Please do not skimp on the oil, ¼ cup seems a lot but, the oil helps the dough to develop gluten giving a slightly crusty, soft and fluffy texture to the bread.

Ingredients for the Filling

Feel free to replace the Akawi cheese with Mozzarella. Using nigella seeds is optional. The egg is important to bind the cheese together although you can make it without the egg if you have dietary restrictions. Removing the egg from the recipe will not result in a creamy texture. So I would suggest you add 2-3 tablespoons of mashed potatoes or cream cheese instead of eggs to get the creaminess.

Possible variations 

Spinach and cheese or meat filling.

Can I freeze the dough before baking?

Yes, the dough can be made ahead and frozen without the filling. After the first rise, deflate the dough by punching out the air, cover tightly with a cling wrap and then with aluminum foil. Place it in a freezer bag and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator the day before using it. Proceed with shaping the dough and filling it with the cheese mixture. Bake it at 200°C preheated oven for 15- 18 minutes until slightly golden on the edges.

Can I freeze after baking it? 

Yes, you can freeze after baking. Cool the fatayers completely, wrap them individually with cling wrap, and place it in a freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. To reheat you have to preheat the oven at 180°C and bake for 5-8 minutes.

Putting the fatayer dough and filling together

Steps to shaping a fatayer
  • Preheat the oven at 200°C.
  • After resting the dough for 30 minutes punch down the dough to remove all the air. Divide the dough into 26 pieces for small pies.
  • Roll out each dough piece into an oval shape as shown on picture no1.
  • Place ½ Tablespoon full filling in the center and spread it out as shown in the pic. no 2.
  • Lift one edge of the dough and press the top and bottom ends well to seal. (pic. no 3)
  • Do the same to the other edge of the dough to make a boat shape.
    (pic. no 4)
  • Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover the pan with cling wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  • After 45 minutes, bake them for 15-18 minutes until slightly golden on the edges. Serve warm.

Cheese Fatayer – Middle Eastern Cheese Pies

Recipe by Ruwani Ravin KumarCourse: Breakfast, BrunchCuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

1

hour 

45

minutes
Cooking time

18

minutes

These kid-friendly cheesy middle eastern pies are a great grab and go. Cheese Fatayer is an excellent addition to your brunch, lunchbox, and snacks.

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 3 cups/ 384g all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast

  • 1 ½ leveled teaspoon granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon table salt

  • 2 Tablespoons / 30g full-fat yogurt

  • 1 cup /240ml whole milk warmed( 110°F )

  • ¼ cup/ 60ml olive oil or canola oil

  • For the Filling
  • 200g feta cheese

  • 200g mozzarella cheese grated

  • 1 small egg

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1 tsp nigella seeds

Directions

  • For the Dough
  • Add the flour, yeast, and sugar into a large bowl and mix well. Next add the salt, oil, yogurt, and warm milk into the flour mixture and mix well until it comes together. Place the dough on a working surface and knead for 10 minutes. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a cling wrap, and place it in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise. Meanwhile, make the filling for the fatayer.
  • For the Filling
  • Cut the feta cheese into cubes and put it into a small bowl. Pour some cold water and soak the feta for 15 minutes. Repeat this step twice by changing the water. This helps to remove some of the salt in the feta cheese.
  • Drain the water and crumble the feta into a medium-size bowl. Next add the grated mozzarella cheese,1 egg, and mix until well combined.
  • Divide the cheese mixture into two small bowls. Add 1teaspoon of chopped parsley to one bowl and add 1 teaspoon nigella seeds to the next bowl and mix well.
  • Putting the fatayer dough and filling together
  • Preheat the oven at 200°C.
  • After resting the dough for 30 minutes punch down the dough to remove all the air. Divide the dough into 26 pieces for small pies.
  • Roll out each dough piece into an oval shape as shown above (picture no 1)
  • Place ½ Tablespoon full filling in the center and spread it out as shown in the pic. no 2
  • Lift one edge of the dough and press the top and bottom ends well to seal. (pic. no 3)
  • Do the same to the other edge of the dough to make a boat shape. (pic. no 4)
  • Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover the pan with cling wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  • After 45 minutes, bake them for 15-18 minutes until slightly golden on the edges. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Egg replacement for the filling – Add 2-3 tablespoons of mashed potatoes or cream cheese instead of eggs to get the creaminess.
  • Akawi cheese Replacement – Mozzarella Cheese
  • Freezer instructions – The dough can be made ahead and frozen without the filling. After the first rise, deflate the dough by punching out the air, cover tightly with a cling wrap and then with aluminum foil. Place it in a freezer bag and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator the day before using it. Proceed with shaping the dough and filling it with the cheese mixture. Bake it at 200°C preheated oven for 15- 18 minutes until slightly golden on the edges.
  • Freezing After Baking – Can be frozen after baking. Cool the fatayers completely, wrap them individually with cling wrap, and place it in a freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. To reheat you have to preheat the oven at 180°C and bake for 5-8 minutes.


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