Lebanese meat pies, also known as Fatayeh Blahmeh (فطائر باللحم), are delicious savory empanada looking pastries that are filled with a flavorful spiced ground beef mixture. They are made in different shapes and sizes based on preference, and served with a side of yogurt bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Then add in the wet into the dry and mix with an electric stand mixer to combine well using a flour dough hook for 2-4 minutes on low speed.
Remove the dough from the bowl and sprinkle some flour on a cutting board. Knead the dough a little with your hands and then from a nice ball shape. Spray the bowl with some oil spray and return the dough back to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
When the dough rises double its size, punch it and release the air from it. Remove the dough again from the bowl and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with some flour and knead to shape it again into a ball shape.
Cut the dough evenly into 32 pieces. Another way you can do this is cut the round dough into 8 triangles and then use each of those triangles to divide the piece into 4 small portions. If you like your meat pies bigger, you can adjust the dough size. Completely up to you.
Form the dough portions into small balls and place on a sheet pan. Cover with a kitchen towel or saran wrap and let them rest for 10 more minutes. The balls will have a final rise.
The Meat Stuffing.
Prepare the meat stuffing while the dough rises for the first hour. This way it's ready and cools down before the dough is ready.
In a large deep pan, bring the oil to medium heat and toast the pine nuts. Remove the pine nuts and set aside.
Add in the diced onions and fry until tender and translucent in color. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef until the water has completely reduced. Then return the onions to the pan along with the spices and salt. Mix until well combined. Cook for 1-2 more minutes and remove from heat.
Add in the pine nuts at this point and mix to incorporate with the beef mixture. The beef mixture is now ready for stuffing.
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 425 F
Dust a cutting board with some flour and roll out one piece of dough to about 3 inches round in size.
Add in a tablespoon of the beef mixture (normal tablespoon not measuring spoon) onto one side of the rolled dough. Fold the dough to cover the meat and press down to see the sides.
To shape the sides, you can either continuously fold the dough over your finger and press down to make the shape shown in the photos or just simply use a fork to seal and shape the sides. Honestly, I would just use a fork. Much faster and easier.
Repeat step 3 for the remainder of the dough. Place the meat pies onto a non stick pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with some oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes minutes or until lightly golden. If you think you want the meat pies to be more golden in color, turn off the bake option and turn on the top broiler for about 1 minute to enhance the color on top. Keep a keen eye on them so they don't burn.
Once you remove the meat pies from the oven, brush them again lightly with some oil to enhance their glaze color. Allow them to cool a little before serving.
If you don't want to make your own dough, I recommend using the Rhodes 36 count dinner rolls dough for this recipe. Just take it out of the freezer the night before and lay them on a sheet pan and let them thaw in the fridge until the next day. Take them out of the fridge and allow them to rise, then roll out the dough and fill them with the meat filling.
If a dough recipe calls for milk or water, always use lukewarm milk or water. Do not use hot water or cold water, as it will cause the dough not to rise or delay the process completely. Too hot water will also kill your yeast.
Do not swap Instant Yeast for Active Dry Yeast. This will change the time the dough needs to rise.
If you're having trouble dicing the meat filling, like the onions, finely, you can put them in a food processor to chop it up real small!
Fatayer can be served warm or at room temperature.
There's no right or wrong way to seal these hand pies. As long as your filling stays in the pie, you can fold them whichever way is fastest and easiest for you.
If you are allergic to nuts, you can completely remove the nuts. It wont make a huge difference at all.
You can make them spicy by adding in some cayenne pepper or some diced jalapenos to the beef mixture.