Meat fatayar on a pan, Maureen Abood

As I have discovered in the short time I’ve been married, even among the Lebanese there are differences in the ways families make their Lebanese recipes. As my teacher in culinary school used to say: likes and dislikes have a lot to do with expectations.

Take the meat fatayar (pronounced fuh-TIE-yuh). The proper preparation of the meat was a point of difference, a point of…contention?…between my parents. The Abowds, my mother’s family, they cook the meat first. It’s a way of controlling the meaty juices by cooking them off first, so that they don’t steam open the little dough triangle’s seams. Cooking first also means you can crumble the meat properly so it doesn’t clump together when it’s baked in its dough pocket.

Dough circles, Maureen Abood

Dough with meat circles, Maureen Abood

The Aboods, no. The Aboods stuff their fatayar with seasoned raw meat, seam-opening be damned for the succulent flavor the meat’s juices impart to the dough as the fatayar bakes.

The metaphor is just too delicious to ignore: the raw and the cooked. Dad’s family puts it all out there, the love and the crazy both. It’s all raw. Mom’s family is more reserved, in a most beautiful way, in a way that suggests everything is neatly cooked, properly cooked, and no seam is going to come undone.

When my Dad was so very sick from the pancreatic cancer that took his life, among the many comforting gifts of food placed before him was a platter of fatayar. They were gorgeous, my friends, not a seam undone in their perfect triangular shapes. Dad’s eyes went big when we brought the platter in, the fatayar enticing his appetite as nothing else really had. He took a bite, and basically threw the fatayar back on the plate. They cooked the meat first, he said with his mouth full of a bite he clearly, dramatically, didn’t want to swallow. He was being funny, and we laughed, but also dead serious.

Dough with meat fatayar, Maureen Abood

Fatayar shaped, Maureen Abood

Recently when I had a visit with cousin Jimmy in Arizona, the Bianco pizza (known to be the finest in the land) I was after got moved to the back burner when we arrived because it was a Sunday, and turns out they’re closed on Sunday. I was irritated, even though I knew we’d get there the next night (obsession breeds I-want-an-oompa-loompa-and-I-want-it-NOOOOOW). Who knew I’d come to thank Chris Bianco for his Sundays off? We arrived to a home-cooked dinner of coosa and crunchy homemade pickles and labneh and olives and just-in-from-Spain marcona almonds. (yes, he’s a special cuzzy). And the showstopper: Jim’s meat fatayar. Dan did a happy dance in his soul. Fatayar over pizza, any day.

The seams on those babies were locked down tight. The flavor, out of this galaxy. Tell me about the meat, I said as Dan devoured what would be an embarrassing quantity anywhere but in a Lebanese home. Jim says coarse ground meat with a little fat is key. That keeps it from clumping since you’d never cook the meat first. Then there’d be no flavor. (Jim is Abood, obviously.)

Fatayar brushed with oil, Maureen Abood

Cousin Jim and fatayar, Maureen Abood

While I got religion with the coarse grind, raw, for the Lebanese sfeha recipe in my cookbook (can’t wait to share it with you in March!), those are open-faced and I hadn’t tried the raw in my fatayar, for fear of the pies opening up, the meat clumping. That Abowd-influnce, a mother’s influence, had reigned.

I followed Jim’s way here other than grinding the meat myself (he is such a purist). My mom tasted them and took her time chewing, as Abowds do. She didn’t throw it down, no drama. She simply said: Nothing wrong with it. Delicious.

Meat fatayar platter, Maureen Abood

Meat Fatayar

Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Recipe by: Maureen Abood

If you’re not grinding the meat yourself (me either!), ask the butcher to grind it coarsely, since it’s not typically available pre-ground. If you can't get coarse ground meat, standard ground meat will do! Fatayar freezes well in a zip lock freezer bag and can be reheated from frozen in a 250 degree oven. Serve fatayar warm or room temperature as an appetizer, or for a meal with a salad. Makes about 24-30 fatayar.

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Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil, such as safflower
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the filling:

  • 1/2 pound coarse ground beef chuck or sirloin, or lamb
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Few grinds black pepper
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Instructions

For the dough:

  1. Proof the yeast by dissolving it in ¼ cup of the warm water with the sugar and letting it activate for about 15 minutes.

  2. Whisk together the flour and salt in a mixer bowl or medium bowl. Create a well in the center and add the oil and proofed yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment or by hand, slowly work the wet ingredients into the dry, adding the remaining 3/4 cup water slowly.

  3. Knead by hand or with the dough hook in the mixer until the dough is very soft, smooth, and tacky/sticky to the touch (but it should not leave dough on your fingers when touched).

  4. In a clean bowl at least twice the size of the dough, lightly coat the dough and the sides of the bowl with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 90 minutes.

To fill, shape, and bake the fatayar:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush two heavy baking sheets with canola oil (fine to line them with foil first for easy cleanup).

  2. Roll the dough out on a dry work surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Gently lift the dough from the edges to allow for contraction. Cut dough into 4-inch rounds. Knead together the scraps, cover with plastic, and set aside.

  3. Fill the rounds of dough by placing a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. Be careful not to let the filling touch the edges of the dough where it will be gathered together and closed. A good way to keep the filling in the center is to lower the spoon with the filling over the center of the dough (parallel to it) and use your fingers to slide the filling off the spoon and into the center of the dough circle—or just use your fingers and no spoon. Place several pine nuts on top of the filling; this method works better than adding the nuts to the filling because it’s easier to be sure each fatayar has enough nuts.

  4. Bring three sides of the dough together in the center over the filling and pinch into a triangle. Close the dough firmly, continuing to shape the fatayar gently as you pinch the seams closed. It's also okay to leave an opening at the top of the fatayar.

  5. Place the fatayar on the baking sheets and generously brush or spray the dough with olive oil. Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

  6. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough, then with the scraps that have been kneaded together and left to rest for a few minutes before rolling out.

 

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73 Responses to "Lebanese Meat Pies (fatayar). The raw and the cooked."
  1. I love homemade meat pies; I used to make them with my Sithoo all the time. I’ve always added allspice to my meat mixture in addition to cinnamon, is there are reason why you only use cinnamon?

    • Maureen Abood says:

      The allspice will be wonderful too–this is just one way to make it!

      • Joanna Darwish-McConlogue says:

        I used to make these with my mom and she used allspice, no pine nuts, ground lamb, and a bit of crushed tomatoes and onion in the meat mixture to keep the meat moist, she would never cook the meat mixture first, and her meatpies were the best.

  2. Patti says:

    Maureen, I could read your posts forever and ever especially when you write about fatayar and Camille Abood memories :))

  3. Lynda says:

    My Syrian grandmother called these sfeha and I loved them!! She, like your mother, always ground her own meat and cooked it first 🙂 Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  4. Jerry Wakeen says:

    Great article Maureen. I didn’t know there was a choice, when I first saw raw meat I thought you were heading us toward the raw spiced hamburger like dish, I forget the name, perhaps raw kibee? But of course you intended to bake the meat pies.

    My aunt used to make them but her 7 kids ate all the meat ones leaving the spinach for us visiting relatives.
    My wife makes them but won’t listen to me about my genuine Lebanese preferences, perhaps she will read your article and pick up some pointers, I will forward it to her email.

    Great to see you looking so happy with Dan and a pile of meat pies!
    best, Jerry

  5. Father Raphael says:

    Zakiyat, my mother, made fatayir with the same recipe as the Aboods. I enjoyed your comment and the story about your father that the raw meat added a special flavor to the dough. So true. Allah yirhummoo. Our family has many stories about mom’s cooking. Here is a short one. Hunnie was known for her Lebanese food but also her fried chicken. Nevertheless, she considered mom’s better than hers. After many attempts at taking the thrown from mom, she came over one morning and said, Skeeyee, I can’t beat your chicken. Its not in your recipe and its not in your method. She then bent over, kissed mom’s hand and said, its in your hands.

  6. We also cooked the meat first. However, I will fill them raw next
    time and see the difference for myself……since I wasn’t on the tasting menu for these awesome ones u r standing in front of…hahahaha! I always grind my own meat (since my father was a butcher, I know no other way), besides, most grocery stores don’t have grinders for personalization of meats….the meat comes in on a truck, ground, packaged and ready for the cooler. We just finished off some Spinach Pies…as we r leaving for Marco next week…..anxious for the book. Please let me know when and if u get to Naples this winter. Hugs Janet

  7. Sara says:

    These look wonderful. With a 4″ round cut, about how many fatayar should we expect to yield from this recipe? Thank you!

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Thank you Sara–recipe makes about 2 dozen fatayar.

      • jamila says:

        Hello Maureen,
        Hope you’re doing well.
        Since your book is not done yet, maybe you can add the yield to your recipes – if it is not part of the plan.
        Always nice to know the quantities first 🙂
        Thank you so much for the great read.
        J

  8. These look and sound so delicious. That dough looks like a dream to work with, can’t wait to give it a try!

  9. Jean Pool says:

    Thank you for this recipe Maureen! I have such fond memories of my Nana making Lebanese food for us growing up. None of her recipes were written down, of course, and it’s been many years since I’ve made the dough so I’m really excited to try it. We grew up cooking the meat first and your recipe sounds like Nana’s (although I have to admit I’ve never actually measured ingredients). Fatayar is my granddaughter’s favorite so she will be my little helper in the kitchen. 🙂

  10. Mary Frances says:

    Maureen . . . I have truly enjoyed reading your recipes and learning the ways of our Lebanese Sitis. My son is a chef, and I’m trying to pass the traditions of lebanese cooking onto him. Nothing quite like Lebanese food! Thanks for your lessons.
    P. S. Can hardly wait for your cookbook to come out. I plan to buy one for my daughter and son as well as all the nieces and nephews. Time for them to do the cooking.

  11. ANIS SALLOOM says:

    Sorry Maureen, I cheated on this recipe, forgive me.!!! Instead of making the dough, I used two boxes of Pillsbury Puff Pastry Sheets. I made four meat square pastries out of each box, for a total of eight pieces.. However, I used your recipe to provide the filling (hashweh). I also added a two tablespoons of Shawarma Baharat to the two pounds of lamb meat mixture.

    The grand children are back from school and each consumed two pasties. Of the eight that I made, only one is left, saving it for the Mrs. when she comes back from work.

    I could not help trying the meat hashweh before using it. Tasted pretty good. Next time I will start early in making the dough.!!! Thank you.!!!

  12. Diane Nassir (my maternal grandmother was an Abowd from Ammun, Leb.) says:

    Oh fatayar–both spinach and meat–always always always a special occasion in our home–and always one of our most favorite meals–we are of the Abowds, and always always always cooked the hushwe first–I was never successful at making the dough stick together, and my gentle Mother would just smile and fix all of my mistakes. She always made her own dough and ground her own meat. Maureen, you are the keeper of memories–every one of your columns evokes wonderful movies in my heart of my childhood home, influenced by the Abowds, Attiyehs, Khouries and Nassirs.

  13. Jane Boaz says:

    If these taste as good as they look, and I am sure they do, they are winners! How is “fatayar” properly pronounced?

  14. Josephine says:

    I have only ever had these in a Lebanese restaurant … your recipe looks incredibly enticing and I can’t wait to try it … your father’s style …. (Your father’s attitude … wonderful ! Love it … you must miss him so ….)

  15. Richard Abood says:

    Hi sweetheart, when I returned home yesterday from a few days in the hospital where your brother, Chris, performed a lamenectemy to relieve me of back pain, I found this e-mail and was induced to prepare meat pies. Chris removed a lot of bone but from the time I came out of recovery until now I still have not required any medication for pain. A testament to his skills.
    I’m waiting for my dough to rise right now. I always like to check a few of my other recipies before starting and thought you would be reminded that your Sitto, Sarah, called for sauteing the meat , onions and spices before cooking. Not a bad idea either.
    Of course, I’ll be placing my raw filing on the dough for cooking as soon as it is ready. (the abood way)

    • Hi, Dick…Vicki Voisin here. I worked with you in Lansing when you were first out of law school. Such good training…and memories as we moved from the Bank of Lansing Building to the renovated Salvation Army building. Sorry to hear you have had back issues but it sounds as though you are on the mend. Best wishes! Love Maureen’s blog! V

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Uncle Dick, I was so glad to hear from Chris that you came through with flying colors! And I’m happy to know you are having fatayar for a speedy recovery, the Abood way!

  16. As a descendant of French Canadians (Voisin translates to “neighbor”) my husband was raised having Tourtiere — their version of meat pie. It’s wonderful! Dorothy (his mother, now deceased) used a combination of beef and pork that she insisted the butcher run through the grinder together 3 times…no more, no less. The meat was then cooked with onions and many spices. Once cooked, it was cooled overnight in the trunk of their car since it was winter in Northern Michigan. Dorothy’s pie crust was always made with Farmer Peet (and only Farmer Peet) lard. The two-crust pies were filled and baked the next day, which was usually Christmas Eve. They were traditionally served for the first time after Midnight Mass, always with cranberry sauce. I have made Tourtiere off and on throughout our 48-year marriage with the help of my dear husband who does the tasting until the spices are just right. We are delighted that our adult children love to cook and are carrying on this tradition. Thanks for the memories.

  17. Monica Shebib says:

    like yu recepie. Where can I get the cookbook.
    I used to make these. Very same as yu mother.
    Always have trouble getting the dough right. Mix the filling half & half. Meat & lamb.
    Learned this from husbands grandmother in 1960.

  18. Robin HUTCHESON says:

    I’m so glad to have this recipe. I have a great family recipe for spinach pies, but my meat pies are lacking a little in flavor, so I’m very anxious to try yours! Thanks for the accompanying story.

  19. Margy says:

    Beautiful story of cousin love. Thanks so much for sharing it! With that much love anything will turn out well. Jim is a great cook, even better brother and we love and miss him lots around here. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Camille is smiling now for sure! How proud he would be.

  20. Laura Haddad says:

    My husband’s family is from Syria and I’m looking for a flatbread recipe for a meat, pine nut and pomegrant sauce topping (Sambousik?) My husband has tried some of your recipes and agrees it is the closest to his mom’s cooking. Since the war in Syria, we haven’t been able to go home and I am unable to continue with my cooking lessons with his mom and sisters. I am Irish Catholic gal (originally from MI!) and I cook primarily Arabic food for my 3 kids (as it is the best food I’ve ever tasted!). If you know of this recipe, I would truly appreciate it:)

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Laura–thanks so much! It sounds like the lamb flatbread (lahm b’ajeen?) would work well with this za’atar flatbread recipe here. I’m going to work on this though, so keep an eye out for the meat flatbreads here!

  21. Caitlin says:

    I reeeeeeeally want to make these for a party sometime … I never thought to not cook the meat before filling the pastries, but now I’m like “duh” that makes total sense… cheeeers!

  22. Ed Habib says:

    I found it nteresting that no one seems to mix the meat with a little leban

  23. Dan Bilich says:

    Maureen, I always use raw lamb, as I was properly brought up. Two things I’ve learned over the years – 1. Parchment paper is a great way to save clean up time and 2. Teach your kids early on how to assemble them, it saves on the back as you get older and the fatayer seem to taste a little better somehow.

  24. Great way to figure someone out, do you bake your fatayar with the meat cooked or raw? I love this recipe. Happy Thursday, Maureen 🙂

    http://www.lovecompassionatelee.com/

  25. hester says:

    Baie lekker as said in afrikaans

  26. Virginia says:

    Well … my mother ground her own meat – but she cooked it first, and her fatayer, both meat and spinach, were so, so good – she used pine nuts, and cinnamon, maybe allspice. Not sure about the spices, but I am sure that they were delicious. Some day I have to get over my fear of making them and just do it!

    Your photos are inspiring.

    p.s. I seem to remember some she made that were “open-face” for lack of a better definition.

  27. Great Piece, This meat pie looks lovely!

  28. I love these! I lived in the Middle East for several years and seeing these brought back some wonderful memories of dinner with friends out there. Gues what I’ll be making for dinner this weekend? Mari x

  29. Amira says:

    I love fatayer! I tend to only make fatayer zaatar but now I will definitely be making these. Lovely blog, can’t believe I didn’t come across it before. This is the perfect Middle East as I know it – food and emotion.

  30. Collie says:

    I love your posts and its brings back beautiful memories of my Mum’s Lebanese cooking. I would love to get my hands on your cookbook early next year. Would it be available in Australia?
    Thanks

  31. joyce shellito says:

    Maureen, These were delicious thanks very much. I know that I can freeze these pies but I want to serve for company fresh out of the oven. Can I prepare the pies earlier in the day, put them in the refrigerator and bake later in the evening? Will that work? Should they be covered in the frig? Help! Thanks for your help.

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Joyce, I suspect the pies would over-proof and possibly open up f you form them and put them in the refrigerator throughout the day. If you do try it, you wouldn’t need to cover them if you coat each pie generously with oil. Let me know if you try it and how they come out! I like to bake them off right after forming them, then warm them in the oven just before serving.

  32. Gaylan Abood says:

    My sitto and mother would usually just dice the lamb. They would use the raw meat method that added a delicious flavor to finish product. YUM!

  33. Robert says:

    I used to make these with my mother. Now my daughter makes them with me. When I was younger, my mother and I always hand ground the meat and onions together. Nothing was ever measured. When we made kibbe, it was always at least 5 pounds of meat, ground by hand, 7 times. No more, no less. I still have the hand-grinder, too, and use it when time permits. And always eaten cold and raw or fried in rendered lamb grease in hamburger-shaped patties. We never had baked the kibbe until we went to my aunt’s home (she married my mom’s brother).

  34. Justin says:

    I wonder if anyone has ever frozen part of them before cooking to have them later…

  35. Nancy Kouri says:

    My husband is one of ten children and I(a mostly Swede) was blessed to marry number six. My mother in law was a fabulous cook and we always looked forward to Sunday dinners when lived close by. When living too far away to go to Sunday dinner I always tried to watch her while she cooked to learn her secrets. Raw kibbee is a favorite of mine as is the cooked. Her Grape leaf rolls(so different from the Greek ones) were heavenly. Fatayar, spinach, lamb or beef were also so wonderful, she and the rest of the clan always formed these with raw meat triangles but a venting hole was left in the the very top. If any juice spilled out it added the crunchy savory flavor to the bread that was so good. Yum, I think I need to get on a Lebanese cooking binge!

  36. Serenity says:

    I want to make all of your fatayer recipes! How long will these last in the fridge? And from frozen, what shall I do prior to serving ? Thank you and I hope mine look as pretty as yours!

  37. Bruce Gorrie says:

    Hi my grandfather was the very first Lebanese to come to NZ, was supposed to go to USA but hit the shores of NZ. He was with his mother only when they arrived. He went to Australia to get his wife and came back to NZ and eventually brought 13 children into this world. I have read your food articles and without much change they are the same as we have here. I lived with my grandfather for quite some time. He was a Rassie have you heard of that family name. I went to Zahle where he came from a very beautiful place

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Wow Bruce, this is very special. My husband’s grandmother was a Rassie, Liah Rassie in Flint, Michigan. Sounds like we have a connection somewhere along the line! My warmest regards to all of you in New Zealand! I hope you can find my book there too.

  38. The dilemma to cook meat before or after….that has been a debate for centuries.
    Great article…

  39. Patricia Abood says:

    The trickiest part is to get those seams tight. I squeeze and pinch and yet those suckers still pop open. I’m going to have to work on my squeezing and pinching,

    • Maureen Abood says:

      That is tricky! Do you use my dough recipe? That helps because the dough is very sticky and the seams tend to stay shut.

  40. Maria says:

    Hi. Can you tell me how can you make sure the dough doesn’t open up in the oven?

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Maria–the trick is in the dough–my fatayar dough is intentionally sticky, and it tends to stay together quite well. I have found other doughs used for breads and etc. don’t work well for the fatayar. Check out this link this link and this link.

  41. Made these today – they were GREAT!

  42. Bev Rahey Haggett says:

    I really enjoyed your story…especially when your Dad spit out the fatayar. My family never cooked the meat first, we were like your Dad. We cooked it all together. The first time I had a fatayar where the meat was cooked first, I didn’t spit it out but I didn’t want to eat it.lol. It was fine though…just not something I wasn’t used to. Sorry to hear your Dad passed away.

  43. Joanne Azar says:

    I had not made Sfeeha for over twenty five years, after my husband died. My mother-in-law helped me with her cooking, I’m American. My sister-in-law had a new, wonderful bread reciepe. Self rising flour, bisquick, yeast, milk and oil. It is wonderful to work with. I’ve made Sfeeha a dozen times since I got this reciepe for the bread. It’s sort of cheating, but easier than the other dough. I too, add cream cheese to my meat and spinach pies. More fat makes it taste better, that’s what my daughter, Alispn told me.

  44. Alexia Kolias says:

    Tried this recipe today. The dough never got to the stage that it no longer stuck to my fingers. The end product was a much thicker dough than your pics showed. A lot of work for a disappointing result. A 4 inch disk didn’t seem to match up with a TBSP of meat filling. I swtched to a 3″ disk, and the TBSP of filling tolled out very thin, still made a result of too much dough. Instead if a very thin dough, it was thick. Can’t figure out where this went wrong. When I have bought farayars from a lebanese store, the dough was very thin, almost see thru, and their fatayars looked like your pictures. The meat recipe was scrumtious. I used 90/10 ground beef.

  45. Roger Toomey says:

    My Grandma made these but not triangular. More rectangular. I guess when you have 9 children and 21 grandchildren she went with speed and function over beauty.

  46. Colette says:

    My parents had a friend that made these incredible meat pies. They were a memory from my childhood. I have tried to make meat pies but they were never close to what I remembered. Oh my, I found this recipe and made them today ! This is what I remembered ! The flavor of the crust…. And then the meat filling….I almost cried they are just what I remembered !! I did tweak a few things, added leeks, green onion, garlic, mushrooms and allspice, but this was everything that I remembered, and more ! Thank you ! I will be taking some to my parents tomorrow, I’m sure they will be a hit.

  47. Aleiyah says:

    I made this recipe today, was yummy. It’s the first time i made something like this and was easy. I adjusted the recipe a bit by added some sumac, a bit of tomatoes paste and some tomatoes and more lemon juice. I will save this recipe. Thank you.

  48. Chuck says:

    You guys are killing me and causing my Lebanese mother to spin in her grave at about 45 rpm. Ground Meat???? She cut the lamb into teeny cubes not more than 1/8 inch per side. She was definitely a raw hushwee person. And we made tons of both meat and spinach. Funny, when I was young I only ate meat. Now I only eat spinach.

  49. Christine Maloof Kempton says:

    To save time my mom bought the cheapest canned biscuits and as a kid I would cut them in fourths and roll them out. Mom cut the lamb by hand and did not pre cook the meat. They were wonderful. My brothers would stand by the oven just waiting for them to come out. This practice was frowned on by our Sitty, but mom’s were just as good. I sat with my aunt before she died trying to get the dough to come out right and decided some of us have the gift and others just should keep trying. Could be that I’m just half Lebanese but I sure love to make all the food. It’s the best.

  50. Eddie Coosaia says:

    I’ve been looking for the recipe for a while now. Gramma Mary used to get them from the “church”, but since I moved, i can’t seem to get them replicated. Can’t’ wait to try this!!! Thanks for the lengthy explanation.

  51. Hand cut steak in open faced dough circular with pine nuts onion cinnamon lemon, affectionately known as flat tires

  52. My fiances family always uses a “starter” called labby (which no one can tell me how to spell either…) have you ever hard of cooking the meat with a starter?

  53. Jennifer says:

    My grandfather came from Syria and made fatayer’s every Xmas Eve. He told us the original filling in his family was ground lamb, onion, garlic, chopped kalamata olives, pine nuts and feta cheese. As you can imagine that would be quite a pricey Xmas Eve dinner when serving 25-30 people so over the years the filling has changed to be more economical from ground lamb to ground beef, from greek olives to black olives, and from pine nuts to walnuts. We use frozen bread dough, let it rise, and get 5 fatayer’s per loaf. Roll out the dough into rectangle or oval shapes, spoon mixture into middle, fold up all 4 sides and bake seam-side down. Brush the top with melted butter before putting in oven. The filling is pre-cooked so they only need to cook about 20 minutes in the oven, until golden brown. AWESOME!!! Such a great family recipe to pass on from generation to generation. When Grandpa passed, Grandma took over making them every Xmas Eve. She’d make close to 100 because there is a lot of men in the family who can easily put away 4 each in one sitting.

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