First, prepare the dough by mixing the dry ingredients and then adding the oil and water.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic.
Set aside in an oiled bowl and cover it with a tea towel or muslin cloth. Let it rest for 30 minutes, in a warm location (so it can rise).
While the dough is resting, chop the spinach.
Place it to a bowl and sprinkle salt on top then set aside for 8-10 minutes to macerate - this will help the spinach to release its liquid content.
Stir and squeeze the spinach with clean hands, to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
Chop the onions and mix with the remaining filling ingredients into the bowl of spinach.**
Roll the risen dough into a thin sheet (between 2-4mm is best). Then cut it in circles- using either a circle cutter or a glass/cup.
Add some of the spinach mix to each circle (not too much as you need to be able to pinch the pastry closed) and fold in a triangular shape by pinch two sides together ad bringing the third bit up to the centre to pinch closed. (see images and video)
Brush each pie with some olive oil . Then arrange as a single layer on baking sheets and bake at 175ºC (Fan assisted) for 30 minutes.
The spinach fatayers are ready when they turn golden brown and are heated through. You can enjoy them right away or at room temperature.
Any leftover spinach fatayer can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week (I have to admit mine have never lasted longer than 3 days before I've eaten them all so I don't know the exact amount of time) or be frozen for 2-3 months.
* As you rub the spinach and squeeze it, it will wilt naturally. ** At this point you can also add in any additional seasonings you may like, such as paprika or cayenne pepper.
Tips to wonderful Fatayer Every Time:
Although there are traditional fillings, feel free to experiment with these a bit. For example, with this spinach fatayer, you could add some crumbly feta cheese if wanted or something similar.
In terms of spices, the absolute 'must-have' for the traditional flavour is the tangy, almost citrus-tasting sumac. Apart from that, a lot is left up to personal flavour. I like to keep mine fairly simple. However, you could dress these up with some paprika, or even cayenne pepper ( for heat).
When making the dough, the key is to roll it out as thin as you can. It may puff up slightly in the oven, so it's good to compensate for this.
For this spinach pastry filling, in particular, it's critical to get rid of as much of the moisture from the spinach before adding it to the pastry. the extra liquid can ruin the bake, and cause a 'soggy bottom' to the pies.
Yes, these can be frozen once baked. I usually place them in an airtight container, with baking paper to separate the layers ( so they don't stick together). I've never tested the amount of time they can stay frozen as they're usually all used within a month - but I would think 2-3 months would be fine. To reheat, just place in the oven at 180C (350F) for 20-30 minutes ( depending on the size of the pastry).
If you want a super quick 'cheat' for these, then you can use store-bought dough. It won't be exactly the same but can save valuable time if you're in a hurry. I've tried this with shortcrust before and pizza dough. Puff pastry or phyllo dough will have a very different final result ( more like spinach puffs or greek spinach and cheese pastries).