HCH 15 / March 2017
Triangles: sweet or salty, by Eyal Streett
Hi there dear readers!
The end of winter is near. Carnival was just here and Purim, a holiday I refer to as the Jewish carnival, is coming very soon (on the 11th of March). The story of Purim is exciting (a real thriller), check it out online… People get disguised, you get drunk and make sure to take care of the poor and send them a package which includes some wine so that they can get drunk as well. In addition to wine, you’ll always find in this package some delicious cookies known as ozney Haman (Hebrew) or hamantaschen (Yiddish). Without getting into the meaning of the name let’s just say that there are different varieties to the filling of the cookie or to the dough itself, but there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re triangle.
If you go to any decent Lebanese restaurant you’ll see fatayer on the menu (appetizer). Guess what? Fatayer are also triangle but their traditional filling is with spinach. The dough is obviously very different than the cookie dough.
So here are 2 recipes, one for the salty triangle and another for the sweet one. The filling you want to use is actually up to you, just keep in mind that you want to try and keep the filling on the dry side, especially in the salty version.
Hope you enjoy these and I wish you a very nice end of winter and beginning of spring!
For the dough:
400 gr plain wheat flour (a bit under 3 cups)
2 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. oil (olive)
For the filling:
300 gr fresh spinach
1 small onion, chopped
Juice from 1/2 a lemon*
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sumac (optional but recommended)
3 Tbsp. pine nuts (optional but recommended)
A bit of oil for frying (olive)
1 egg yolk / olive oil for brushing
*This recipe will make the filling on the sour side, if you don’t like that simply don’t add the lemon and use only 1/2 a tsp. of sumac.
Let’s make our dough. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Make a small hole in the middle of the mix and add the liquids. Kneed the dough by hand or with a mixer for at least 5 minutes. If after a few minutes the dough is still very sticky then you should add a bit of flour to balance it out. Once you got your dough nice and stable cover it and put it aside for 30 minutes. Take a break.
30 minutes later…
First of all set your oven to 180ºC. Next boil water in a pot big enough to contain the spinach. Wait for the water to boil and let the leaves cook in the water for 3 minutes. Drain the water and squeeze the spinach to get rid of liquids.
While the spinach is boiling you can chop your onion, get some oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for a couple of minutes (medium-high). Add the pine nuts, get your spinach and add it. Once the spinach is in add the lemon juice and the spices and keep it on the fire for another 5 minutes. Let it all cool down a bit. While you’re waiting get back to your dough. Now it’s bigger than it was 40 minutes ago, hit it a bit and roll it out (sprinkle your surface with flour). You want to roll it to a thickness of 0.5 cm. Take a cup and make circles in your dough, take the remaining of the dough, make a ball and roll it out again, make more circles and again until you used all of your dough.
By now your spinach is cool enough. Put a spoonful of the filling in one of your circles (try avoiding the liquids) and then fold your circle to create a triangle. Make it tight since they’ve got a habit of opening in the oven. Fill them all and place them on a baking sheet (on a tray). Now all you’ve got left to do is brush them all either with some oil or with egg yolk (for more of a yellow presentation). By now your oven is at the right temperature, place them in the oven and leave them there for around 20 minutes (more like 17), once they get a bit darker you can get them out of the oven.
Mmm…. smells great! And guess what? Tastes great too!
By the way, you can decide to fill them with whatever (mini pizza will work great). Experiment and make your own version!
For the dough:
420 gr plain wheat flour (3 cups)
100 gr sugar (1/2 cup)
200 gr butter (cold, diced)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Zest from half a lemon
2 Tbsp. sour cream / orange juice
For the filling:
Your choice of jam, chocolate spread, “dulce de leche” (caramel), etc.
One of the most traditional recipes for a filling is poppy seed. Unfortuantely I don’t really have any poppy seed recipe to share with you, sorry about that.
Icing sugar to sprinkle on top.
Turn on your oven to 180ºC
Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and lemon zest. Add the butter, egg yolks, lemon juice and sour cream (or orange juice). Kneed you dough (I do it by hand). Fight the butter and after 2 or 3 minutes things will start looking better. It’s like pie dough, you’ll see when it’s ready. If it’s still very sticky after a few minutes or falling apart then you should add a bit more flour.
Roll your dough out on a nicely flour-sprinkled surface until it’s around 0.5 cm thick (or a bit thicker). Just as with the fatayer, take a cup and make circles in the dough, collect the remaining parts of the dough, make a ball, roll it our again and make more circles, and again until you use all of your dough. Place a spoonful of your filling in each circle and start folding your circles into triangles. Squeeze the corners nice and firm so that they don’t open in the oven. Once you’re done place them all on a baking sheet (on a baking tray) and put them in the oven. Depending on your oven and the position of the tray you should leave them inside the oven for 15-20 minutes. (If you use 2 trays, for example, then the higher one will take around 15 minutes while the lower one will take 20 minutes or a bit less). But the rule is simple: once your sides start browning it’s time to get them out of the oven. Don’t worry if the dough feels soft, it will harden up once they cool down.
That’s it, let them cool down, sprinkle some sugar on top and try not gobbling them all up before your kids get their hands on them….
See you next time!
Eyal Streett, Madrid, February 2017