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Greek Spinach Pie. “Spanakopita.” ©

September 26, 2012

 

 

 

Every household in Greece has it’s very own family recipe for this well known pie and the variations are endless. Two days ago a good friend made a special request for my recipe………. it was then I realized I had never actually made Greek Spinach Pie !!!!! Now there was a nice challenge…….I have eaten it many times and I therefore knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t want…….

Here below is a beautifully light, tasty, not too salty not too oily version of the classic Greek Spinach Pie. Yes I do use butter…..instead of olive oil, but I think you will agree with me that this does produce a delicious result.

If you live in the Greek country side the combinations of greens, “Horta” can be endless, so think of this as the basic recipe and add as you see fit. If you do choose to use olive oil, use very sparingly or half and half, the butter gives an excellent flavor.

This is a special request from Sabrinah ! Express Post!

 

Easy

 

4-6 Persons

 

Oven 200.C. 3/4 -1 hr.

Oven to tableware dish 25 X 25 cm.

 

Ingredients

500 g Spinach. fresh or second best frozen.

450 g Leeks

2 Onions finely chopped

4 Spring onions, green parts included finely chopped

2 tbs chopped Fennel stalks

3 tbs Fennel leaves finely chopped

50 g butter for cooking plus 50 g melted butter for buttering pastry

150 g Feta Cheese crumbled

150 g Ricotta Cheese, Anthotiro or cream cheese

50g grated Parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Sheets Filo pastry, ( Kroustas )

2 eggs lightly beaten

 

Method

1. Wash and prepare vegetables, cutting leeks and spring onions half way through diagonally, so that you can wash out any earth trapped, while they were growing in between the leaves, this can take several waters. Soak all vegetables in salted water to release any bugs attached to the leaves. Rinse again with plain water.

Wash fresh spinach extra carefully in many waters, ending up with salted water. Spinach often has a lot of earth attached to its leaves or lodged in the root part. lastly rinse with plain water.

2. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add finely sliced leeks, spring onions green leaves included, diced onions and fennel stalks. Sweat over a very low heat, lid on for at least 20 mins, stirring occasionally as the vegetables easily stick. They must not brown!

3. Add fresh spinach leaves to separate pan and wilt over 1 tbs of water for 2-3 mins. If frozen melt over gentle heat until all water has evaporated. I used a non-stick frying pan for this.

4. Place spinach in colander and press water out with a spoon. This is important, you don’t want a watery pie.

5. Crumble feta cheese into a large bowl and add ricotta and grated parmesan, add freshly grated  black pepper. Mix in lightly beaten egg, reserving second egg for pastry.

6. Butter oven to table wear dish. Lay over the top two to four layers of Filo pastry, buttering each with a pastry brush as you go. Position dish in center of pastry square.

7. Having buttered top surface,brush with beaten egg.( This helps the filling stick to the pastry, especially if you decide to make mini rolls, or a long roll, rolled up like the pattern on top of a shell, in which case you need a round pie dish.) Pour in vegetable mixture and even out. Brush surface with beaten egg.

8. Place two to four more layers on top, buttering each as you go and turn all the ends inwards to make a neat role around your spinach pie.( If the role is too thick, cut the two innermost layers back to the side of your dish, and role up the remaining ones.) I used two layers of Filo pastry top and bottom, because I didn’t want too much brittle pastry, but this is up to you.

9. Butter thoroughly on top, tidy your dish with kitchen paper and using a very sharp serrated knife divide pie into squares, according to the size of your dish. It is nice if the pieces come out about  5 x 5 cm squares. My pie dish was 24 x 24 cm. If you choose a larger pie dish, the pie will come out thinner, which is also very nice.

10. Place in center of oven, at  200. C. for 3/4-1  hour, or until the pastry is uniformly golden. If pastry browns too quickly, cover lightly with a sheet of tin foil. Or as I did I made a specially shaped protection, because the outer browned before the inner! Filo may seem an easy pastry, but it too needs careful cooking to get the correct crispiness.

11. Leave to stand for ten minutes and serve with a nice green salad. This pie in Greece is usually served just warm.

12. Decorate with a sprig of parsley, just before serving. Important, tidy dish with kitchen paper for spills!

N.B. Presentation is very important, you want your end result to look clean tidy and appetizing. Always leave five minutes at the end for decoration and presentation, after all it is the first impression that catches the eye !

 

After washing thoroughly your vegetables, slice finely and add to the melted butter in a large saucepan.

Onions, spring onions plus green leaves, fennel stalks.

Add sliced leeks and sweat over a low heat, lid on. Stir from time to time as the vegetables must not brown.

 

After briefly cooking spinach, cut up finely and place in sieve to drain completely.

 

Push out all liquid from spinach. This is important, you don’t want a watery pie!

 

Crumble feta, add other cheeses and mix into cooked vegetables. Add freshly ground black pepper.

 

Butter oven to tableware dish and place two layers of Filo pastry over the pie dish, buttering in between each

layer and carefully centralizing pastry.

Brush pastry with lightly beaten egg.

 

Pour in vegetable mixture.

 

Even out vegetable mixture in pie dish and brush with beaten egg.

 

Cover with two to four layers of Filo pastry, buttering each one as you go……

 

Using a sharp serrated knife cut pie into squares, cutting all the way down, so as to make it easy to serve.

 

Bake in pre-heated oven 200.C. Keeping an eagle eye on the pastry. If it over colors, cover with tin foil…..

 

……or as I did, because the outer parts were browning before the inner section….cooking is all about  being

inventive…..

Spinach pie ready…….

 

Yum, those bubbles say it all………

 

leave to cool a little. Decorate, just before serving with parsley.

Wishing you the best of luck with this request, Sabrinah, and many happy returns to your friend, I hope this

last minute request is in time………xxx

Final result !

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. annetteobrien1 permalink
    September 26, 2012 10:47 pm

    Oh gosh I hadn’t realised I have so many delicious ‘favourites’ – this is another!!!Did you take the photo of the finished product too? Such a professional finish and looks as if it’s straight out of a foodie magazine! xx

    Like

  2. Nectar Leylekian Derghazarian permalink
    October 8, 2012 3:36 pm

    It looks yummy I will try this recipe I love Spanakopita .Thanks Steve Stylianoudis for introducing me to your friend Jane,s Kitchen .

    Like

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