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Superb Spanakopita the perfect pie

My superb spanakopita is the perfect pie. Why? Well, this Greek classic pita is healthy, tasty and combines flavours and textures that make your mouth come alive. In fact, it just makes you feel better.

I’ve loved this pie for so long, I started making it with silverbeet, well before I could find proper spinach in the stores. Now I grow (or try to grow) my own spinach so I know it’s chemical free and as fresh as it can be when I use it.

Superb Spanakopita

Superb Spanakopita

It’s a Greek classic. Crunchy pastry and a tasty, slightly salty spinach and cheese filling. It’s the perfect pie.

Recipe by Marti
0 from 0 votes
Course: Main, DinnerCuisine: GreekDifficulty: A little skill with the pastry
Clever Cooking

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Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

You will need

  • 2 hearty bunches fresh spinach (or about 750g baby spinach leaves or frozen spinach)

  • 250 grams feta cheese

  • 300 grams fresh ricotta cheese

  • 2 large (or 3) free range eggs

  • 1 large brown onion

  • 4 spring onions, (green onions)

  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

  • 1/2 tsp dried Greek oregano

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp grating of fresh nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)

  • 50 grams butter

  • 1 packet filo pastry sheets

Here’s what to do

  • Preheat your oven to 200C | 180C fan forced.
  • Wash the spinach well. Soak it in water, then drain. Don’t skip on this. If you do you’ll be crunching grit when you’re eating your pie and that’s just yuk. No need to wash if you’re using frozen spinach.
  • Place a steamer basket over a little water in a large, wide pot and add half the spinach to the basket, sprinkling half the oregano on the spinach. Bring the water to the boil and steam about five minutes until just wilted. Remove to a colander, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and repeat with the remaining spinach.
  • When all the spinach is gently wilted, pick it up and with your hands, then squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until all the water has gone. You’ll be left with a little ball of deep green goodness.
  • Chop the spinach finely, then set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, finely crumble the feta, add the ricotta cheese and squish that up with a fork, mixing it through the feta as you go.
  • Peel and finely chop the brown onion – I mean finely, otherwise you’ll end up with uncooked onion bits in your pie and that’s not nice. When super fine, add to the cheese mixture.
  • Wash the spring onions, remove the hairy end and outer leaves if a bit grubby, then finely slice the white part and green tails, then add to the bowl with the cheeses and onion.
  • Add the chopped spinach, parsley, grated nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper to the bowl. The mixture doesn’t tend to need salt as the feta is quite salty, but add a little extra if you wish. Mix it all together with a spoon.
  • Break two eggs into a separate bowl or cup and lightly break them up with a fork, then add to the spinach and cheese and mix very well. The filling should be a bit squishy and moist, but not runny wet. If you feel it needs a third egg, go for it – there’ll be no damage done as long as it’s all cooked well.
  • Melt the butter and place within easy reach on the super-clean bench you’ll be working on. Remove the pastry from its packaging (do thaw well if you’re using frozen pastry) and unroll the sheets. If you’re working quickly don’t worry too much about it drying out.
  • Brush the pan with butter. Remove a sheet of pastry and line the pan, gently pressing into the corners. It will probably tear in places, but don’t be too concerned. Brush the bottom layer with butter and spread another pastry sheet over and repeat this for four layers, until you have a hole-free lining. Leave the excess hanging over the outside edges.
  • Tip the prepared filling into the pastry lined baking dish and fold the excess pastry over the top.
  • Place a sheet of pastry on the filling and lightly dot with butter. Place another sheet of pastry on and repeat this process, buttering between each layer (or every second layer) until you have 8 layers of pastry.
  • Brush the top with butter and place into your preheated oven. If you have some overhang or messy edges, just use some kitchen scissors to trim these off.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, checking the pastry isn’t burning. Adjust the temperature if it’s getting too hot.
  • The pie is cooked when feels a bit springy and coming away from the sides of the dish a bit. For a less springy pie, use less egg.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before cutting and serving with baked potatoes and tabbouleh salad or other side of your choice.

Tips and tricks

  • All feta cheese is not created equal. If you can, use Greek feta and Bulgarian also has a good flavour – plus it’s less pricey.
  • Source and use fresh ricotta where possible. If not available, try to find a good, fresh ricotta in a tub – often found in local European-style markets or specialty stores. If you can’t source fresh or fresh tub ricotta, just use the standard supermarket variety. It will be okay, but the quality and texture will be inferior.
  • This pie freezes really well. I often make a large one then cut it into portions that I freeze individually and take to work, keep in the fridge until lunchtime, then heat up in a microwave.  
  • This pie freezes really well. I often make a large one then cut it into portions that I freeze individually and take to work, keep in the fridge until lunchtime, then heat up in a microwave.  

Discover why superb Spanakopita is the perfect pie

Some who know me say this is my signature dish. It’s certainly a favourite. It’s the food my daughter requests when I’m in Hobart and has done for every birthday most of her life. One thing I know is that it’s ALWAYS delicious!

Spanakopita is so simple to make and extremely good for you, especially as it is so high in iron from all that wonderful deep green spinach.

Traditionally I serve mine with my delicious tabbouleh and golden baked potatoes, which makes it a complete, delicious vegetarian meal. Why not cook up some chick peas and make a delicious salad with them as a side dish instead?

A trip back to the ’80s

I was first introduced to this fabulous food  in my late teens and took it on as my own.  I was living in a share house with five other people, so this was a perfect and a wonderfully inexpensive pseudo-hippy share house meal that served lots of people – because there were always extras for dinner in our house.

In early 1980s Hobart, real spinach was unheard of, so I made this pie with silver beet, which was a passable alternative. I’ve never looked back since being able to source – and grow – real spinach. Nothing compares.

Since those early days in the kitchen I have researched, remodelled, refined and rejoiced in the simple goodness of this pie.  It is the perfect recipe for your vegetarian and meat eater friends alike. In fact, I’ve never met a person who didn’t love it. You know, it’s true what they say – superb spanakopita is the perfect pie.

Did you make this? Why not rate it and leave a comment below.

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  1. Pingback: Gorgeous Greek roast potatoes | The Infatuated Foodie

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