19 Jun Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Feta Pie)
If you to want to bake something warm and savoury, yet still fresh because you aren’t quite in the vicinity of needing ‘comfort food’ just yet, you need to get around this Spanakopita (aka Greek Spinach and Feta Pie).
One of my favourite things when it comes to baked savouries are buttery pastries with bursts of salty creaminess. Pair this with one of my favourite vegetables, spinach, and you have a recipe that is essentially pastry stuffed with spinach and feta cheese – making me a pretty happy girl.
So this is my take on a classic Spanakopita. At its most basic level, it is made up of three main ingredients: filo pastry, spinach and feta cheese. And while on it’s own this already sounds like a winning combination, it is actually equally important to load it up with plenty of fresh herbs.
Enjoy with a big dollop of creme fraiche on top, and an all-important glass of vino for the perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!
Enjoy with gusto,
500g frozen spinach, thawed and drained (see note)
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
2 teaspoons crushed/minced garlic
200g feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
18 sheets pre-prepared filo pastry, thawed
125g butter, melted
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a large bowl, combine spinach, herbs, spring onions, cheese, eggs, garlic and salt and pepper.
To assemble the Spanakopita, on a large, well greased baking tray, lay out a sheet of filo and brush with melted butter. Place a second sheet directly on top of this, brush with butter and repeat with a third sheet, again applying the butter to the top.
Once you have laid down three sheets, repeat the process with another three sheets of filo, however this time, lay them perpendicular (or at a 90 degree angle) to the first.
Repeat the process again, however on a 45 degree angle, and then again on the opposite angle. When complete, you should have a ‘star’ made up of 12 sheets of filo pastry.
In the centre of your pastry star, spread the filling ingredients in a circle, allowing a few centimetres around the diameter of the filling.
Wrap the Spanakopita filling in the pastry by folding the sheets of pastry over the top, overlapping the edges as you go. Use the remaining sheets of pastry to fill any gaps – crinkle or scrunch them if you need to, at this point it doesn’t matter if they tear.
Coat the top and sides of the pastry with remaining melted butter and sprinkle generously with the sesame and poppy seeds, then place the Spanakopita in the oven.
Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden and crispy. Serve while still warm.
Ensure your frozen spinach is very well drained, so as to not turn your pastry soggy and ensure even cooking. You can wring it out by hand, or by using a clean, damp tea towel.
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