Spanakopita is a classic Greek pie and makes an excellent dish that can be eaten hot or cold.Serves 4-6
Spanakopita is a vegetarian pie of Greek origin made from feta and spinach. When cheese is included, it can sometimes be found labelled as “spanakotiropita”, meaning “spinach and cheese pie”.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of salty Feta on its own. However, when added to a recipe like this, it provides richness to a dish that can seem quite bland at first. Feta’s salinity comes from the time the cheese spends ageing in brine.
Spinach comes in numerous forms. Frozen spinach is readily available and works well in this recipe. However, it requires a bit of attention as it needs to be defrosted thoroughly, and then squeezed to remove any excess moisture. It needs to be as dry as possible or it will turn the filo pastry soggy. This also applies to raw spinach leaves, which will require pre-wilting and squeezing anyway. Baby spinach can also be used, but it will wilt down into nothing.
There’s such a thing as villagers’ dough which is traditionally used to make spanakopita. However, filo pastry is readily available in supermarkets and works well. The difference between the two is in the thickness. Villager dough is a little thicker than the wafer-thin filo sheets. You can buy ready-made filo, or make it yourself.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 White Onion, Finely Chopped
250g Feta Cheese, Crumbled
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint, Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill Leaves, Chopped
1 Tsp Oregano, Dried
450g of Frozen Spinach, Defrosted
2 Eggs, Beaten
Zest from 1 Lemon
Salt/ Pepper to taste
Fresh Nutmeg, Grated to Taste
250g Filo Pastry
50g Tbsp Butter, Melted
- Pre-heat an oven to 200C/180C for fan/ gas mark 6.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and gently fry the onion until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled cooked onions with the herbs, and feta cheese.
- Squeeze the spinach through a clean kitchen towel, or muslin until the excess water runs dry. Once, dry, combine with the onions, herbs, and feta. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. Mix in the beaten eggs.
- To layer the pie, start by brushing the bottom of a round baking dish with melted butter. Lay the filo pastry along the bottom and allow the edges to hang over the side of the dish. Repeat the process by laying filo sheets in alternate directions for 4-5 sheets. Brush each sheet with a little melted butter.
- Add the filling to the centre of the pie, and top with another 2-3 sheets of filo pastry and melted butter. Fold over the overhanging sheets, and finish with melted butter.
- Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the pie is crisp and golden. Serve, cut into triangle wedges.