Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Recipes | August 23, 2015 | By

spanakopita

I love the layered filo, spinach and cheese mixture of a perfect spanakopita.

Don’t let layers of buttery phyllo intimidate you. Here’s a recipe for spanakopita success.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) is an essential Greek dish. You will rarely encounter a Greek holiday or celebration without one. In Greece, it’s prevalent supply leads it to be the logical choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For me, the perfect spanakopita involves beautiful wilted spinach, woven with a variety of cheese. In Greece, they use a nice salty hard sheeps/goats-milk cheese called Kefalotiri. It’s a little harder to source that in the U.S. so you can sub in parmesan, romano or pecorino or a mix of those. Feta cheese is also a main ingredient. I like the tart, briny flavor of Bulgarian feta, but you can use whatever you prefer and have on hand. This recipe also calls for cream cheese, which is not used in Greece, but I personally love how it binds the whole pie together with a satisfying flavor and texture. Fresh herbs make the entire mix pop, so splurge on those.

spanakopita-technique

Making spanakopita in my kitchen.

This recipe originally appeared on the Huffington Post in an article covering the 2010 KCRW Good Food Pie Contest. I took home a 3rd place ribbon for it that year. I think I could have placed higher but there was some dispute if a spanakopita was a real pie. Of course it it, people. It was a pie before pie was pie. But I digress.

Take this recipe and riff off it to your own taste. This is the perfect ratio of scallions and spinach to cheese and herbs for me, but you may have another mixture in mind. Above all, savor your finished product. There’s nothing quite like a hot, buttery, spinachy, cheesy spanakopita that is just out of the oven.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 generous pieces

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

I love the layered filo, spinach and cheese mixture of a perfect spanakopita.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh spinach/ or 3 12-oz bags (it's worth the extra time to wilt and drain the fresh spinach)
  • 3 bunches scallions
  • 3/4-lb (12 oz.) Feta cheese
  • 8 oz. cream cheese

  • 2 cups shredded Kefalotiri (Greek head cheese), or fresh shredded Romano cheese
  • Assorted chopped fresh herbs (1/3 cup each of chopped dill, mint and flat leaf parsley)
  • 2 tbs. Cream of Wheat or Farina
  • 2 eggs beaten
1 egg yolk
  • 1 1-lb box Phyllo Dough
  • 1 to 1-1/2 sticks butter

  • 2 tbs. Kalamata olive oil
  • black pepper (a few shakes)
  • Natural bristle pastry brush
  • 9 x 13 pan

Instructions

  1. Note: The trick for good spanakopita is to make sure the filling is not too soggy. Having too much moisture can kill the pie.
  2. Filling
  3. In a large pan, wilt the spinach for about 4 minutes. Pour into a colander or, better yet, a salad spinner to drain any excess water.
  4. Chop the scallions. In a large pan, saute them in 2 tbs. Kalamata olive oil for about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and combine.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the cheese, herbs, black pepper, 2 beaten eggs, and Cream of Wheat. Mix well (I like to use my hands). The mix should be stable at this point. If it's watery add some more Cream of Wheat, and/or cheese. Set aside the filling.
  6. Phyllo Crust/Assembling the pie
  7. Melt 1 stick of butter in a pan.
  8. Make sure the box of phyllo is at room temperature. When you're ready to use it, unwrap it so it is in one rectangular pile.
  9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Dip your pastry brush in the melted butter and brush the pan with butter. Pick up one leaf of phyllo and lay it in the pan. Brush phyllo with butter. Repeat layering the phyllo buttering each individual leaf. Layer about 10-12 leaves on the bottom.
  11. Add the filling on top of the phyllo leaves. Evenly distribute it across the pan. Then start making your top crust by adding a leaf of phyllo, buttering it and adding another on top. Repeat the process for about 15 leaves.
  12. Make sure to butter your top piece of phyllo. Score the pie with your knife you should be able to divide the pie evenly into 12 square pieces.
  13. After you've scored it, beat the egg yolk with 1/2 tbs. water. Brush it over the top of the pie.
  14. Bake pie until top is brown, about 45 minutes, to an hour.
http://mysweetgreek.com/2015/08/23/spanakopita-greek-spinach-pie/

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