Spinach Pies

Growing up in a Lebanese family, there's always ALOT of food going around and alot of recipes passed on from generation to generation. One of my favorite things growing up in this environment were the small appetizers (that us kids ultimately ate as meals because they are so filling!). The spinach pies were particular because they never tasted the same from one person to another, although my aunts all used the same recipe.

In light of this, I've decided to try my own version of the spinach pies. I asked one of my aunts for her dough recipe (because she ultimately makes the best dough) and I made changes to a spinach filling recipe I found online. Take note that this recipe takes a while the first time (it took me about 2.5 hours all in all, including the time for the dough to rise - about 1.5 hours).

Let's start!

Make the dough:
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water (the recipe says about 43 degrees C, I gauged it according to how long I could keep my finger in the water - about 10 seconds).
- 1 tablespoon of yeast (not having any yeast, I used 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 lemon juice)
- 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour (I used half and half flour)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a pinch of sugar
  1. Pour 1/4 of the water in a bowl. add the yeast (or mix of baking soda and lemon juice) and let it rest for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 to 6 minutes in a warm area.
  2. Mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl. dig a hole and add the yeast mixture. Add the rest of the water and the oil and mix with your hands.
  3. Once your ingredients are well mixed, make a big ball with the dough and transfer it on a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.
  4. Put the ball of dough in an oiled bowl (make sure the whole ball is covered in oil) and cover. Let it rise in a warm location for about 2 hours (I left it for 1.5 hours).
Spinach stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- about 300g of frozen spinach
- 1 scallion
- half a cup of brick cheese (or whatever cheese you feel might be appropriate for your recipe)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- mushrooms (I cut up about 3 large ones in tiny pieces, but you can add as many as you want)
  1. Defrost your spinach in the microwave for about 6 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive in a saute pan and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 more minute. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place in a bowl. Add the onion/mushroom mixture, scallion, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Putting it all together:
  1. Once you feel like your dough has risen enough (after about 1.5 hours), take it out and make small balls with them. I split my dough in 12 pieces (yes, it did make for large pieces but it was quite filling).
  2. Take each piece and roll them out into approximately 12cm diameter circles.
  3. Take each of those circles and place them in a muffin pan to create a small bowl. put the spinach stuffing inside and fold the sides to close the pie and create a star (you can make these in any shape you want, the common shape is a triangle)
  4. Put in the oven for about half an hour, until the dough becomes a little golden. You don't want to leave it in for too long or else the dough will be too hard.
You can also make these on a cookie pan and give them whatever shape you want. I don't have a cookie pan so I had to improvise with what I had. They turned out to be amazing and they are nutricious and delicious for afternoon snacks! :)


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