Thursday, April 07, 2016

This week's MENU Recipe: Greek Spanakopita Easter pie

This makes a very large pie for a celebration dinner or party. You can halve the recipe to make a family pie. Please try to use real spinach, it gives the right flavour. You could use Swiss Chard if you like but leave out the thick stems. You will need to cook it first and drain it well then chop it very fine. The secret of this pie is the well drained spinach. If you have any filo left at the end, you can refreeze it safely.
Greek Spanakopita Easter pie
1 to 2 T extra virgin olive oil - 1 large onion - 2 garlic cloves - 825g frozen spinach (NOT creamed), defrosted and drained of all water - 3 T fresh dill, chopped - 1 teaspoon oregano, fresh or dried or a mix of both – 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice - Zest of one lemon - 350g feta, crumbled - 150g ricotta cheese - 6 eggs, lightly beaten - 1 box frozen filo pastry, defrosted - 1 cup of melted butter - salt and freshly ground black pepper - optional: nutmeg
Make sure your spinach is defrosted and well drained, press out any residual moisture, you might like to start this about an hour before you use it
Set your oven to 180 ⁰C. You will need a large round pan or dish approximately 30 cm across and 5 cm deep. Butter it well. Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in some of the olive oil until soft, but not browned. Cool slightly. In a large bowl add the onion mixture and stir in the spinach, dill, oregano, lemon juice and zest. Then add the beaten eggs, and both the cheeses. Mix well so that everything is incorporated. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can add a good scraping of nutmeg which goes so well with the spinach, if you like.
Now to assemble the pie. Open your box of filo and roll out the filo. Cover it with a damp but not wet tea towel to prevent it cracking. Remove one sheet and, using a pastry brush, cover it all over one side with melted butter. Lay it in the pan, buttered side up, with the edges hanging over the sides. Do another sheet but lay it at about a 50° angle across the tin so that you have full coverage, and do the same with the next sheets. Do this until you have a layer of five sheets of filo. Carefully pour the spinach mixture into the pan. Now cover the top with another five sheets of buttered filo, laid in a wheel. Then pull up all the ragged edges and lay them on top of the pie in a fairly jumbled loose mess. Take another sheet of buttered filo and rumple it up and put into the centre of the pie, so that you have lots of edges to crisp up. Dot the top of the pie with any remaining melted butter.  Put into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filo is nice and crisp and golden on top. Serve in slices, hot or cool
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus
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