Hello everyone! Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday! It is beautiful and sunny out in Chicago today which makes me very happy 🙂
Today, I am sharing with you the much anticipated recipe for mo3aganat. These savory Middle Eastern pies are my absolute favorite things to snack on. I can have them any time of the day and I am one happy girl. I have always gravitated towards the cheese pies; the feta with the touch of spice and herbs melts in your mouth. I haven’t been able to enjoy these as much due to being lactose intolerant but I will have them every now and then because I just can’t help it! They are that good. I use feta because it doesn’t completely melt and keeps a nice bite in the dough rather than mozzarella or another cheese which will melt into the dough.
The za’atar pies (manakeesh) and spinach pies are a tie for second place in my books. I have always loved za’atar. I would add it to cheese or labneh (yogurt) sandwiches all the time. It is one of those Middle Eastern dried spices that I cannot live without. My favorite about the spinach pies is the sourness from the lemon and sumac. It packs a punch and hey its spinach, healthy right? I hope you enjoy these recipes that have been passed down from my mama to me. I grew up enjoying these and I wanted to share with you all to enjoy them as well. 🙂
Total Time: approx. 1 hour
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water
1 packet of active dry yeast
- In a large bowl, add the 2 cups of lukewarm water. To that, add 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar, and the yeast. Stir together. Cover and let this rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Then add the olive oil and the last of the flour which is 3 cups of flour. Mix very well with your hands. It may help to add the flour 1 cup at a time rather than all 3. That is up to you!
- If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour till dough is easier to work with. Once the dough is ready, make small sized balls in the palm of your hand with the dough. You should be able to make 24 of these ball sized doughs and place on baking sheet that has olive oil sprayed on it. Allow dough to rest while making the stuffing for the dough.
Cheese stuffing Ingredients
8 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
1 tbsp dried oregano (za’atar)
1 tbsp dried mint
1 beaten egg
10 oz. Queso Fresco crumbled
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
- Just mix all together till well combined.
Spinach stuffing Ingredients
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
2-3 tbsp sumac
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 a lemon’s fresh juice
1 tsp salt (or more)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
- Just mix all together till well combined. Taste to see if it needs more acidity.
Zaatar topping Ingredients
2-3 tbsp of dry za’atar
1/2 cup olive oil
- Just mix together till it looks like a paste. There should be some movement; so not completely thick with a little oil.
How to prepare the pies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush flour on the surface of your work area as well as the rolling pin.
- Take the rested dough that was portioned already into small balls and lay on the floured surface area. Start working it with your hands and then use the rolling pin to roll it out into the desired thickness and shape of a circle about 5 inches round.
- For the za’atar pies (manakeesh), add a spoonful of the za’atar paste to the center of the rolled out dough and lightly spread while pressing into the dough.
- For the cheese pies, you can make them look like a crescent roll. Flatten the dough and using a pizza cutter, shape into wide triangle. Lay the feta mixture towards the wider end about 1 tbsp. Fold over the cheese and continue rolling. Tuck in the sides to close them and fold looking just like a crescent. Egg wash the top using egg whites then sprinkle black sesame seeds.
- For the spinach pies, flatten the dough with a rolling pin and add the 1-2 tbsp of the spinach mixture to the center. Bring 3 sides of the dough together in the center over the filling to shape a triangle. Close dough firmly. You don’t want any of the filling coming out during baking. Brush with white egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, add your savory pies onto the sheet leaving 2 inches of space in between. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Check on them after 15 minutes and keep a close eye. The dough will start to brown lightly on top and bottom. That is when its ready!
- Store extras in an air tight container or zip lock at room temperature for 3 days. After that, place in the fridge and warm up in the oven to enjoy. I highly doubt they will last that long!