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 lemon’s fresh juice
1 tsp salt (or more)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp red pepper paste (chili paste)
1/4 cup 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!
Curious why do u add egg to cheese mixture ? I ve never tried that before.😊
The egg acts as a binder for the cheese mixture!
Hi! How do I store these if I want to prepare them in advance for Ramadan? So excited to try this 🙂
They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze them then defrost and warm them up. They are best eaten fresh!
Can you prepared them then freeze and when ready to eat defrost then bake? JZK
Hi Suzanne, Yes you can!
Hello . Tried it the first time very very stickey even added flour still very stickey, tried it second time thought maybe my yeast is old or my flour has been sitting in my pantry for a while . Bought new ingredients . Still very stickey .
Hi Ayat! Did you add all 5 cups of flour? If so. and its sticky then just add a little more flour at a time until its easier to work with but the dough will be a tad sticky normally but not too much. If that dough is giving you a difficult time, you can try this one that I have as well.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
OMG these were Soo good! Thank you for the recipe! We do the cheese different at my house, with parsley instead of mint but it was superb! Jazaki Allah khayran for the amazing work! I love the 3ajeeneh recipe
You are so welcome!
First time ever making mana2eesh, hoping they turn out well. My family and I can’t thank you enough, Fufu! <3
Enjoy! My pleasure!
My husband absolutely loved your recipe. I usually drive 1.5 hrs to buy fresh fatayer, but this was so good I won’t have to anymore. Thank you!
That’s awesome, Christina! Happy it was enjoyed!
The dough turned out amazing! I never made fatayer before, but when I read in one of your comments that the dough can be a bit sticky, which happened to me, I was confident it would be fine and I let it rest and it was perfect. Thank you for your hard work to share these recipes with us
Salaams. What can we replace the quest fresco with? In South Africa we don’t get that cheese.
Salam Fatima, You can use white Arabic cheese, Armenian string cheese, halloumi cheese, or just shredded mozzarella. Hope this helps!
Thank you so much fufu for the recipe!! Was loved by my entire family at iftar especially my picky brothers!
I love to hear that!
Wow! This Egyptian mama thanks you for the BEST fatayer recipe I have ever come across. We did the meat variant and my kids keep asking for “matayer” with goofy puns like “we’re never too tired for “matayer.” The dough is magic. Momtaz.
I am thrilled to hear that!
Looks so good! Is the dough recipe meant for all three fillings? Or just one?
One of the fillings! Sometimes I would make half of each filling or so to use up for the entire dough or sometimes, I pick one filling and use it entirely for the dough.