Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Assyrian spinach pies

It’s been 5 years since the Bread Baking Babes started. Every month they bake a recipe and all Buddies can bake along. I've been baking along for about 2 years now and still enjoying it! Babe Tanna found these good looking Assyrian Spinach Pies.

We just bought some spinach and I made a nice quiche with it. Luckily I had some spinach left to put in these pies. They’re easy to make; the dough is smooth and soft and the filling has a good bite. Tanna uses mahlab, made from the pits of sour black cherries. Since I don’t have this I omitted it and have no idea what I missed. I saw Babe Lien used raisins instead of pomegranate seeds and hard cheese instead of feta. This worked great for me too. For the bite I added fresh chili.

We loved them! I baked only 4 pies because I didn’t have enough spinach and we ate them with a nice salad for dinner. But, next time ……….. for sure.

Name                                       Assyrian spinach pies
Adapted from                            A baker’s Odyssey” - Greg Patent
Yields                                       12 pies
Dough temp.                             24°C
Mixing                                      by hand 5 – 7 minutes
Fermentation                            60 minutes
Shape                                      pies
Proof at roomtemp.                  none
Bake 180°C                              25 - 30 minutes

This is what I used:
Bakers formula                      %          grams
Flour                                      100       350
Water                                     65        230
Salt                                        1.7       6         

active dry yeast                                   1 ¼ tsp
water                                                   210-235
ground mahleb (optional)                     ½ tsp
unbleached all purpose flour                 350
sugar                                                    1TBsp
salt                                                      1 tsp
olive oil                                                40

olive oil                                               2 TBsp
medium yellow onion, chopped             1
small clove of garlic, chopped finely      1
walnuts, chopped                                   70
raisins or pomegranate seeds                  4 TBsp
chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)           450
lemon                                                  squeeze
grated cheese or feta cheese                   50
small egg (or ½ large)                              1
fresh chili                                             to taste
salt and pepper                                     to taste

a little olive oil for brushing

This is what I did:
I combined all ingredients for the dough. I had to knead the dough by hand because the amount was not enough for my electric mixer. Once in a while I like to knead by hand and use the pull and throw-method. It took me about 8 minutes before the dough was smooth and soft.

Bulk Fermentation: transfer the dough to a slightly oiled containers, cover and leave for 1  hour. 

Fry the chopped onion, chili and garlic in a little olive oil until golden. Add walnuts and raisins, season with salt and pepper and let it bake for a few minutes on medium heat, stirring from time to time. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Stir in the spinach, lemon juice, egg and cheese.

Pre heating: I pre heated the oven to 180º C.

Shaping: divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll out each piece into 15 cm circle. Use flour on the work surface to prevent sticking. Place a heaped TBsp of filling onto the center of the circle, leaving about 2 cm of dough all around.

Imagining the circle to be a clock, lift up the edges of dough at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions and pinch the edges firmly to seal. Close it up with the 6 o’clock position of dough to meet in the center. 

Place  the pie on parchment paper. Work quickly and place them on the parchment paper with a little space between them.
You probably can place 6 pies on a parchment paper to fit the oven. Place the other 6 pies on parchment paper to bake directly after the first batch.

Proofing: No proofing.

Preparing and Baking: brush each pie with a little olive oil. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Eat them while they’re still warm.

I send this to BBB host Tanna's My Kitchen in Half Cups, Susan’s YeastSpotting and to Bake Your Own Bread


  1. Wonderful! Your filling looks so good and hearty! I really loved this recipe and will definitely make it again with different ingredients in the filling. Great job, Buddy!

  2. Beautiful! What a great idea to add garlic and fresh chili! And I really like how thin you got your dough to be.

    Many thanks for baking with us!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I thought it should be this thin, and then I saw pies with more crumb. We liked them this way.

  3. Well, how could I possibly have left out the garlic ... and chili, both those should have been no brainers.

    It's funny to call these pies although they do fit in the hand for a hand held pie and even with the crisp crust you still get that nice little bread edge and that's bread.

    Thanks for baking with us Connie!

    1. It's always a joy baking with the BBBabes. I probably didn't think about not using garlic and chili in spinach. Every day we eat garlic and almost every day there is chili in our food.

    2. We're the same, Connie. Only occasionally do we have anything without garlic and chili. And then it's usually a conscious decision. Mmmm, garlic and chillis - they really can't be beat, can they?

  4. Great little pies...and the flavor of the filling must have be outstanding with the garlic and chili. Excellent thing dough, too. Now I want more of these to eat.

    1. Thank you Elle, there must be so many delicious fillings for these pies, hmmm what's next

  5. Your substitutions sound perfect. I was missing garlic!

    1. Thank you Karen, what's spinach without garlic? I also like spinach with a boiled egg.

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