Spinach and cheese pies can be found in a variety of locations, but they are common in the Middle East where they are made as a single serving pie called Fatayer. We made ours as a larger pie that serves about four people. It is quite tasty and while we had it for a main dish, it can also be served as a side dish with a meat such as lamb. We have seen variations of this using Filo dough as well as Feta cheese, but we used puff pastry sheets and a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. It can be made as a Vegan dish with some slight modifications. We cooked down fresh spinach, but it can be done with frozen spinach if you prefer. We found it to be quite delicious.
- 2 lbs Fresh Baby Spinach – stems removed
- 2 Medium Shallots – finely diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves – minced
- 4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese – grated
- 4 oz Mozzarella Cheese – cut into small cubes
- 1 tsp Dried Dill
- 1 Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg
- 2 Sheets of Puff Pastry (cut to fit the baking dish)
- 1/8 cup Roasted Almonds
- 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 large Egg – beaten
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Toast the coriander seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. In a spice mixer or blender, combine the almonds, coriander seeds, and cumin and pulse until the ingredients are blended and the almonds are ground into small bits. Don’t grind it to a powder as you will want to have the crunchy texture. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter until the shallots are soft, being sure not to burn the garlic. Add the spinach in batches until it is fully cooked down (you might need to add additional butter). Stir in the dill, nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, then add the cheeses and stir until the cheese is fully integrated. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place a sheet of puff pastry on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the spinach mixture over the pastry sheet, leaving about an inch border. Place the second puff pastry sheet on top of the spinach and pinch the edges of the top sheet with the edges of the bottom sheet. Brush the edges of the top pastry sheet with the egg wash. Cover the center of the pie with the almond-spice mixture. Cut into individual size pieces and bake in the oven until golden-brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.