THESE crispy, cheesy delights make a great after-school snack.

"These soft, pillowy little open pies, called fatayer, are popular all over the Middle East, where they are often grabbed as a snack from a market stall, served on platters at parties, or served for lunch with a mound of tomato and cucumber salad," says food writer Anne Shooter.

"Shaped like petals, or boats, they couldn't be prettier and you can experiment with all sorts of fillings - meat and spinach are traditional. The dough only takes about 20 minutes to rise, so you can make the filling during that time and have them on the table shortly after."


(Makes 16-24 depending on size)

For the dough:

350g plain flour

7g sachet instant yeast

2tsp granulated sugar

1/2tsp salt

200ml lukewarm milk or water

75ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling and brushing

For the filling:

3 courgettes, coarsely grated

200g feta, drained and crumbled

1tbsp sumac

A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 egg, beaten

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the milk or water and olive oil. Knead by hand or in a free-standing mixer fitted with a dough hook until the dough is soft and no longer sticky. Coat a bowl with a little olive oil, form the dough into a neat ball and place in the bowl. Cover with lightly greased cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm until it doubles in size, about 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

3. Place the grated courgettes in a colander to drain over a sink. When you are ready to make the filling, squeeze them with a clean tea towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Add the squeezed courgette to a bowl with the other filling ingredients and mix gently to combine.

4. Form the dough into 16 balls (or 24 smaller balls) and roll each ball into a long oval shape about 5mm thick. Place around one to two tablespoons of filling in the centre of each oval.

5. Fold one long edge a little bit over the filling, forming a frame for it but leaving some filling exposed. Press down to seal at each end of the folded edge. Do the same on the other side, forming a petal or boat shape. Pinch the edges well to seal.

6. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces and place them on lightly oiled baking sheets. (You need to work quickly as the dough will continue to rise and the pies may open, so you may want to bake one tray while finishing the second tray.)

7. Brush the edges with olive oil, then bake for about 15 minutes until the dough has turned golden brown and the cheese mixture has melted. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cherish: Food To Make For The People You Love by Anne Shooter, photography by Emma Lee, is published by Headline priced £28. Available now.