How can puff pastry be so yummy and come in a conveniently frozen package?
Because, yes, it’s inconvenient to make yourself. Possible, but inconvenient. Especially when you live in Hawaii and the butter is melting too fast to make those delicious flaky layers. So I just stock up when I see it on sale at the supermarket.
I am a little more than in love with Moroccan and Lebanese foods, and when I saw these spinach pies in my cookbook Arabesque: a Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon (a b-day present from my sis-in-law a couple years back), I marked it for dinner trial later that day. And, yes, I used frozen spinach. Too easy.
I loved the bright notes in the lemon and spice mixture. The rich taste of dark cooked spinach always tastes good to me.
I let my daughter brush the packages with butter before putting them in the oven and she was so interested in this strange present I was making. I liked that the spinach was hidden until the bite had already been taken (and by then she knew it tasted good!) so we were all happy.
Spinach Pies (Fatayer Bi Sabanikh) adapted from Arabesque
- 1 pound fresh spinach leaves (or frozen, in my case)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 C pin nuts
- 4 T olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- juice of 1 lemon
- 14 oz puff pastry
- Turn the oven on to 350. Wash the spinach and remove thick stems. Put the leaves in the saucepan and just a sprinkle of water and steam until soft. Strain and squeeze all the liquid out with your hands. If you are using frozen spinach, microwave the spinach (take it out of the box) until thawed, and squeeze out the liquid. Chop coarsely.
- Fry the onion in a large saucepan with 3 T of oil, until golden. Add the pine nuts and stir until they begin to color. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, allspice, lemon juice, and mix well. Stir around until the liquid evaporates.
- With half the puff pastry at a time, dust a rolling surface and the rolling pin with flour. Roll out each half into a thin sheet. I cut the sheet into squares (rather than rounds) to save time—about 4 inch squares. Put a tablespoon or two of filling in the middle and pinch up the sides, firmly sealing the edges. It’s okay if the filling starts peeking through during cooking.
- Put the pies on foil on baking trays. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden.