These delicious, dainty little lamb parcels are wonderful as part of a big mezze or as a little snack on their own. They are pretty much irresistible just out of the oven – beware though, of the very hot filling – resist temptation and allow to cool a little before eating.
- Olive oil for frying
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 400g minced lamb
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 35g sliced almonds or pine nuts
- 1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 packet ready-made filo pastry
- 5 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional
- 1 dessertspoon tahini
- 4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
- A few drops water
- ½ lemon, juice only
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion for five minutes over a medium heat until soft. Add the lamb, stir with a wooden spoon to break up the lamb and add the cinnamon, salt and allspice, cook for 20 minutes or so until the lamb is cooked through. Stir in the pine nuts or almonds, sumac and mint. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.
- Unroll the filo pastry and cover with clingfilm and a damp tea towel. Peel off one piece and keep the rest covered so that it doesn’t dry out. Cut the sheet in half and lay the pastry sheet flat on a clean surface and brush with melted butter. Fold in one third of the pastry lengthways towards the middle. Brush again with the butter and fold in the other side to make a long triple-layered strip.
- Place one rounded teaspoon of the filling mixture at one end of the strip, leaving a 2cm border. Take the right corner and fold diagonally to the left, enclosing the filling and forming a triangle. Fold again along the upper crease of the triangle. Keep folding in this way until you reach the end of the strip.
- Brush the outer surface with more butter. Place onto a baking sheet and cover while you make the rest of the fatayer. Sprinkle over a few sesame seeds, if using.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning halfway through the cooking time.
- For the yoghurt and tahini sauce, there isn’t an exact science to this sauce, simply mix the ingredients together, with enough water to thin it out a bit and a squeeze of lemon juice to sharpen it up a little.
- To serve, place the fatayers onto a large serving plate with a bowl of yoghurt and tahini sauce and dig in.
Tip: If you don’t have sumac, add a squeeze of lemon juice instead.