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Spanakopita: Light and Flaky Spinach Pie

Sara
Posted by Sara on Nov 4, 2020

 

I’ll do just about anything to get my kids to eat spinach. Things are obviously a bit crazy in the world right now, and it can be such a battle these days to consistently get veggies in their diet, so sometimes I just have to get a little more creative than usual. 

A couple of years ago we were at a Greek diner, and we ordered spanakopita, spinach and feta filled, phyllo-wrapped triangles. We didn’t immediately reveal the contents of these crispy, crunchy bites to our kids, and guess what? It was love at first bite! In the end we did explain what the filling was, and surprisingly, that didn’t end up being a deterrent. Victory! 

So, in an effort to get more veggies on the table, I decided to make spanakopita, but this time I made it as a pie instead of individual triangles. It’s a bit less laborious to make it in pie form, so I went that route. 

What is Spanakopita?

Spanakopita is a Greek savory spinach and feta cheese pie layered with tender and flaky phyllo dough. These very thin sheets of dough are stacked while being brushed with melted butter (my choice) or olive oil, and then spread with a feta-laden spinach mixture. After assembling a few layers of phyllo dough and spinach in your baking dish, you pop the dish in the oven and wait for the magic to happen.   

Working with Phyllo Dough

Working with phyllo dough can be a bit intimidating due to its thin, delicate nature, but it just takes a steady hand and a bit of patience. You’ll find the dough in the freezer aisle of your grocery store, so be sure to let it defrost for a few hours in your fridge before working with it. 

Upon taking it out of the package, you’ll want to very gently unroll the dough so the sheets are in a flat stack. Very lightly moisten a kitchen towel, and cover the dough so the top sheets don’t dry out. It’s not uncommon for the first sheet or two to be ripped or cracked; if that’s the case, just discard them and use the ones underneath. You can easily take what you need from the package, roll up the remaining sheets, and place them back in the freezer. They will continue to dry out the more you do this, so try and use the sheets up between two sessions, if you can. 

phyllo dough

Making the Spinach Filling

To prepare the filling, you want to get your spinach ready first. I really dislike struggling to squeeze all the water out of frozen spinach… it’s way too fussy for me. So, while I do squeeze some of the water from the spinach initially, I don’t worry if there’s some remaining since after gently sautéing my onions, I add the slightly damp spinach to my pan and cook it down to evaporate any excess water. It always works like a charm! 

draining spinach

Transfer the onion-spinach mixture to a bowl, and allow it to cool. Once cool, stir in the crumbled feta cheese, nutmeg, sour cream and eggs. Be sure to season the mixture with salt and pepper. 

Assembling the Pie

Now it’s time to assemble the pie! Be sure you have your melted butter handy, because that’s a main ingredient in this dish. You start by buttering your baking dish, then lay one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of your dish, and brush it with butter. Repeat this step two more times. Spread half of the filling on top all the way to the edges, and layer three more sheets of dough on top, buttering in between each layer. Spread the remaining filling on top, and repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo, and you guessed it… butter each layer. Don’t skimp on this step! Once the pie has been assembled, you do something a bit unexpected… you actually cut the pie into squares before you bake it. The phyllo dough gets so light and crispy once it’s baked, that if you try to cut it afterwards, you’re going to crumble that beautiful top layer. 

cooked spanakopita pie

Eating!

Bake the pie until it’s golden brown and crispy, about 25 minutes, and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving. To go with the pie, we cooked up a Greek feast of homemade gyros (blog coming soon!), Tzatziki sauce, herb roasted potatoes and a Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, Kalamata olives and a roasted garlic vinaigrette. I was in such a food coma after dinner! You don’t need to go all out like we did… you can easily just serve a delicious salad on the side, and that would be more than enough. 

spanakopita plated

What if I Want to Make Individual Triangles?

As I mentioned before, these can be made into individual triangles, which are excellent for entertaining. Lay 4 sheets of phyllo dough on your worksurface, brushing butter in between each layer. With the short end towards you, cut the dough into 2-inch wide strips. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling 1/2-inch from the bottom of the dough, and fold the triangle up and away from you like a flag. Place on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and brush the tops with more melted butter. Bake at 375° until golden brown and crisp. You can even freeze the raw triangles, and bake when needed! 

Spanakopita Pie

Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe

Yield: 4-6 servings

Active time: 40 minutes

Start to finish: 1 hour, 5 minutes

 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, small dice

Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 stick butter, melted

5 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted and cut in half from one long end to the other

spanakopita mise

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Gently sauté the onion until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

onions-3

3. Add the spinach to the pan, and cook off any excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

spinach onions

4. Once the spinach mixture has cooled down, add the feta cheese, eggs, sour cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

cheese

5. Brush a 9”x13” baking pan or quarter sheet tray with some of the melted butter, and set aside.

6. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the baking dish or on the sheet tray, and brush with butter. Repeat this with two more sheets of phyllo to make a stack of three sheets. Tip: Be sure to keep the unused phyllo covered with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.

pie without filling

7. Using a small offset spatula, spread half of the filling on top of the buttered phyllo, spreading it all the way to the edges of the pan.

pie with filling-1

8. Repeat the buttering and layering with three more sheets of phyllo, and spread the remaining filling on top.

pie before cutting

9. Repeat the buttering and layering with the last four sheets of phyllo, making sure you brush the top layer with melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut the "pie" into eight squares.

raw pie

10. Bake the spanakopita until golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

11. Serve warm or room temperature.

Although many of us will not be entertaining this holiday season, it’s still fun to create a festive atmosphere at home, and making delicious and fun food is a great way to get into the spirit. The perfect way to get inspiration is by signing up for our Virtual Customer Appreciation event this Saturday, November 5th. We have three session throughout the day featuring different menus for all of your holiday needs. We’re also running Virtual Cooking Demo: Holiday Appetizers on December 3rd, where you can watch our chef prepare three awesome appetizers.

Learn more Customer Appreciation Day 

 

Yield: 4-6
Author: The Chopping Block
Print
Spanikopita Pie

Spanikopita Pie

Prep time: 40 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry 
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick butter, melted 
  • 5 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted and cut in half from one long end to the other

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Gently sauté the onion until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the spinach to the pan, and cook off any excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Once the spinach mixture has cooled down, add the feta cheese, eggs, sour cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Brush a 9”x13” baking pan or quarter sheet tray with some of the melted butter, and set aside.
  6. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the baking dish or on the sheet tray, and brush with butter. Repeat this with two more sheets of phyllo to make a stack of three sheets. Tip: Be sure to keep the unused phyllo covered with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.
  7. Using a small offset spatula, spread half of the filling on top of the buttered phyllo, spreading it all the way to the edges of the pan.
  8. Repeat the buttering and layering with three more sheets of phyllo, and spread the remaining filling on top.
  9. Repeat the buttering and layering with the last four sheets of phyllo, making sure you brush the top layer with melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut the "pie" into eight squares.
  10. Bake the spanakopita until golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes:

 

Created using The Recipes Generator

Topics: spinach, pie, Recipes, Greek, phyllo dough, spanakopita

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