Fatayer Kolokithopita: Lebanese spinach pies meet Greek pumpkin phyllo triangles in one tasty package!
Inspired by the fatayer at a local Lebanese restaurant, I immediately wanted to re-create the dish at home. However, I had some ideas to tweak the inspiration to better suit my pantry. First, the fatayer in the restaurant came in these cute dough square parcels, which seemed like a LOT of work. I am an old hand at empanadas and perogies, but these parcels made me pause. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to use up that spare box of phyllo dough that was hanging out in my freezer instead. The phyllo thought made me think of Greece, which led me to spanikopita. However, I already had the spinach component covered in these fatayer, so I researched other things Greeks do with phyllo. Turns out quite a lot! One such item is kolokithopita, which is a pumpkin phyllo pie that can be either sweet (think pumpkin pie) or savoury. Looking at the ingredients from the recipes I found, I quickly discovered that the list of ingredients for the kolokithopita was almost the same as that of the fatayer. Limited by my supply of phyllo pastry, this seemed like kismet. So fusion fatayer kolokithopita was born!
I baked the triangles instead of pan-frying them which is why they appear pale in the picture. I like them better this way because when reheating you can just stick them in a frying pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil and re-brown the sides. This makes the leftovers nice and crunchy, and just like if they were made fresh – in 5min or less! They are extremely tasty and addictive. Be forewarned however – due to the onion in the recipe you will be chasing away vampires for a long time after eating! Bring some mints if you’re going to eat them at work.
The original fatayer recipe is from Food.com, and I added 1c. of pumpkin puree to the mix. The original fatayer recipe can be found here if you don’t have phyllo lying around for experimentation and feel the urge to challenge your dough-parcel making abilities – I won’t stop you! Lebanese Spinach Pies. My adapted recipe is below, for those of you who have had a box of phyllo dough staring you in the face for the past six months. 🙂
4c. fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped finely
3 large red onions, diced
0.5c. lemon juice
1 pinch fresh black pepper
1c. natural pumpkin puree
1 package phyllo dough, thawed
To make filling:
1) In large bowl, mix spinach and salt together until spinach appears ‘bruised’ (darker in some spots). Let sit while you prepare the onions.
2) Dice the onions and add to bruised spinach.
3) Mix in lemon juice, pepper, and pumpkin puree.
To make triangles:
*Note* There are various ways to do this, and everybody has their preference. I was going to explain it, but some things are just better in pictures! Here is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide: How to make phyllo triangles. I put in ~1 tbsp. of filling for each triangle.
If that process seems daunting but you want the goodness of Fatayer Kolokithopitas, no worries!
Take one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly spritz with cooking oil (or brush with butter, if that’s how you roll). Overlay another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, and lightly spritz with cooking oil. Continue until you have a stack of four sheets. This is your pie ‘base’.
Place your pie base in a lightly greased 9″x13″ pan, and dump the filling on top. Smooth out the filling so it’s reasonably even.
Make another pie crust of four layers of phyllo dough, and set on top of filling. Tuck edges in however you like.
Regardless of how the filling gets into the dough, bake at 350dF for 20-25min (40-45min for casserole method), or until tops nice and brown.