Spanakopita: Greek Spinach Pie
A classic and very well know Greek dish and a great vegetarian meal option. I use this same filling to make my small appetizer-sized spinach pies. It is also the same filling in my spinach quiche. It's juicy, fresh tasting and a definite crowd pleaser. It freezes perfectly so make an extra batch for those busy days. I love to eat this with tzatziki on the side or with a nice salad. However you make it, just give it a try.
- 1 pack phyllo pastry, at room temperature
- 1 pound baby spinach, chopped
- 2 bunches fresh dill, finely chopped or 3 heaping teaspoons dried dill
- about 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese, full fat and at room temperature
- 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
- about 2 cups olive oil, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Baking tray dimensions used for this recipe: 18" x 13" x 1"
Here are some very important tips before we go on:
1) I can't stress enough how important it is that the phyllo stays in it's packaging until it is at room temperature!!!!! Very important. The best way to do this is by defrosting it overnight in your refrigerator (since it's usually sold in the freezer section). Take it out in the morning or at least 2 hours before you use it and leave it in it's packaging to come to room temperature. Do not take it out of the airtight plastic packaging that comes in!!! It will be completely useless if it sits out for a long time, it will crumble and nothing will save it.
2) Please do not use low fat or fat-free cheese (ricotta or feta).
3)If you cannot find fresh dill, you may use the dried form, but less. So for this recipe, if using dried dill, use about 2 tablespoons or enough to suit your taste.
4) Add the eggs to your mixture last so that you can adjust the seasoning if you're worried about consuming raw egg.
5) Baby spinach is very easy to find over here where I live. It comes in all different amounts. You can buy regular spinach that is sold in bunches. Just make sure to wash it very well. Baby spinach is really convenient since it is already washed and ready to use. That said, use what you can find.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the chopped spinach, dill, scallions, ricotta, and feta cheese in a large bowl and using your very clean hands, mix very well. Knead it, crush it and keep mixing until everything is combined well.
Taste the mixture and add as much salt and pepper as you like.
Add the beaten eggs and about 1 cup of olive oil and mix well.
Rub some oil with your hands all over a half sheet baking pan.
Lay 3 sheets on the bottom of pan and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Place 2 sheets half in the pan and half hanging outside of the pan on all four sides of the pan. See video above.
Spread all of the filling inside of the phyllo sheets. All of the sheets that are hanging outside of the pan should go over the filling. See video.
Drizzle some olive oil all over the phyllo. Cover half of the pie with 2 sheets of phyllo, tucking them under and repeat the same with the other side of the pie. This is demonstrated in the video tutorial.
Take the remaining phyllo sheets one at a time and crumble them in rows on top of the pie. Drizzling all the remaining olive oil on top of them. This will create a crisp, light crust.
Using a very sharp knife cut the pie into 12 equal slices.
Place in oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 1 hour. The pie will be crisp and golden brown.
Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving. This will allow the filling to set.