Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spanakopita

My first experience with spanakopita was with my Aunt Katina. She's from Greece and these were always one of her specialties. I remember small triangles of some awesome flaky pastry with cheese and something green in them and that they were amazingly good. My mom always heated them up in our toaster oven - they were a perfect little snack! Little did I know that 'those triangle things that Aunt Katina makes' had a real name and that you could actually get them from other places than Aunt Katina! Who knew?

This recipe might not be an authentic Greek version, I don't know if they use cream cheese or Asiago cheese, my guess would be not. The Kitchen Witch uses these cheeses because, well, they're delicious and work well with the spinach. Something both versions do have in common is the use of feta cheese, its salty sharp tang is what makes this spinach pie delicious. Well, that and the filo dough, and the butter. Mmm...butter...

If you've never worked with filo don't fear it! It's not as hard as it looks. You'll find filo (or phyllo) dough in the frozen section of your grocery, where pie shells are. One box has 2 sleeves of dough in it, and you'll use less than 1/2 of one sleeve for this recipe. Allow the dough to thaw completely before using it, if its even a little frozen it will rip and tear. Been there, done that. Unroll the filo dough and cover it with a damp towel. Have your butter melted and the pan that the dough is going into ready to go. Work quickly as the thin sheets of pastry like to dry out but do not be alarmed if the dough tears. Its very thin and this is to be expected. Honestly, after its all baked no one will ever know if your pastry is pieced together because it kept ripping or if it stayed in one nice sheet. Again, I've had both happen, they both ended up fine.

Spanakopita can be made in a large pie form as I've done here, or you can make smaller appetizer sized ones by folding a bit of filling into strips of buttered filo dough and folding into triangles. Both versions can be frozen with great success. Enjoy this Greek delight!

Spanakopita
makes 8 wedges
12 oz bag frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 green onions sliced very thin
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup feta cheese
1/4 c asiago cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t dill weed, dried (if using fresh double the amount)
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg or a pinch ground nutmeg
1 t kosher salt
1/8 t white pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
7 sheets filo dough

Combine everything BUT the butter and the filo dough sheets. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 400F

Using an 8x8 pan butter the bottom and sides liberaly with melted butter. Lay 1 sheet of filo dough over the pan, making one edge flush to the sheet of dough and the other overhanging. Press into place and up the side. Brush that sheet of dough with melted butter. Place another sheet of filo over the 1st one, leaving another edge hanging off. Repeat 2 more times so each side of the pan has a piece of overlapping filo dough.




Spread the spinach and cheese mixture evenly into the pan.



Bring the overhanging sides up and over the cheese mixture, buttering each layer before folding the next over top.

Butter 2 full sheets of filo dough, fold in half and lay on top. Press into place. Butter top layer.

Using a sharp knife cut the pie into wedges or squares before baking.



Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.



Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 212.9
Total Fat 16.1 g
Saturated Fat 10.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.9 g
Cholesterol 50.3 mg
Sodium 600.9 mg
Potassium 174.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 7.2 g

17 comments:

Foodycat said...

You are lucky having a Greek aunty! I haven't made spanakopita in such a long time, I must do it again. Thank you for reminding me!

StephenC said...

Gosh, I would love to eat some of this. Don't think I'm ambitious enough to make it myself though.

angicoock said...

Wonderfully Wonderfully

Jenn said...

I haven't had spanakopita in a very long time... way too long. You make it sound so easy to make :) Love the asiago and cream cheese mix. True that it might not be authentic, but that doesn't mean it's not good!!!

Care's Kitchen said...

I have phyllo in my freezer as we speak ad have been wanting to make somthing like this! This looks delicious...perfectly cooked and I like the cheeses you used...I think I would use the same!!!!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

soooooo beautiful!... I love how you've made it, they really are one of my favourite things... I first had them in Greece back in the 80's and never looked back. Made them for the first time last year and I will do again... now i'm starving from looking at those pictures.

Jennifer said...

I love spanikopita! I haven't made it in soooo long, though. Your's looks delish!

Michael Toa said...

I used to have a Greek flatmate and her mom made some delicious spanakopita. Yours looks fantastic!

Cranberry Morning said...

That looks amazing! I love phyllo but have never used it. I wait for my friend to make something with phyllo dough when we have a party. :-)

Pam said...

This looks delicious! Love it and working with phyllo dough too. Thanks for the recipe!

Ananda Rajashekar said...

Yet again a new dish for me to know but that indeed looks very interesting would love to try!

Malli said...

Fabulously delicious creation brewing in your pot:)
This spanakopita looks so awesome, I am inspired to bake some this weekend.

Pam said...

Yum! It looks so good.

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, I haven't had this in AGES!!! Got a craving now, gonna have to do something about this ... :)

InTolerant Chef said...

When we use phyllo at work we cheat and use spray oil between the layers. This looks lovely and of course butter makes everything taste more fantastic!

Raina said...

I love the method you use for your filo, seems easier. This looks delicious:)

Apron Appeal said...

Is there a difference between dill weed and dill? I've heard of spanakopita and I think it may just be time to try it out.

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