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Spinach Pie with Cheese
Spanakotyropita (also known as spanakopita)
This is a family favorite because it's quick and easier to make than some other versions.
Day 1: Make the Filling
- 4 pounds of fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, and chopped
- 1 large or 2 small spring onions, chopped
- 2/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of water
Over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until soft. Add spinach and water, bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put in a colander... to drain. When cooled, cover and continue to drain in the refrigerator overnight.
Day 2: Make the Pita (photos)
- spinach from day 1 (bring to room temp)
- 1 egg
- 2/3 pounds of firm feta cheese
- 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 pound of phyllo sheets 14 x 18 inches
- 2 tablespoons of water
Note: Contrary to most instructions (even my own), the phyllo can be taken out of the freezer to defrost 3 hours before using (leave package unopened while defrosting).
The finished spinach pie is a favorite street food, snack, and even a light main dish. Walk through preparation in these step-by-step photos.Continue to 2 of 16 below.
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Start with prepared spinach, and preheat the oven
On day one, the spinach was wilted and put in the fridge to drain. Now, (continued below)
remove spinach from the refrigerator and keep in the colander over a bowl. As ingredients are added, it will continue to drain. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).Continue to 3 of 16 below.
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Beat the egg and add to the spinach
Use a fork to beat the egg and add to the spinach.Continue to 4 of 16 below.
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Crumble the cheese and add to the spinach
If the feta cheese is too soft to crumble by hand (if it starts to mush), put in a bowl and use the tines of a fork to make small pieces, then add to spinach.Continue to 5 of 16 below.
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Mix cheese and egg into spinach until well distributed
Use one or two forks to toss the spinach with the egg and cheese to combine well.Continue to 6 of 16 below.
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Unroll the phyllo and count the sheets
Because half the sheets of phyllo will be used on the bottom and the other half on top, start by counting the number of sheets in the package.Continue to 7 of 16 below.
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Use half the phyllo sheets on the bottom of the oiled pan
Oil a pan measuring the same or slightly less than the phyllo sheets with 2 tablespoons of oil using a pastry brush. Lay half the (continue reading below)
phyllo in the pan, fold in any overlap, and pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil on top.Continue to 8 of 16 below.
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Brush the phyllo with the oil
Continue folding in any overlap until the bottom layer fits the bottom of the pan.Continue to 9 of 16 below.
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Pour the spinach mixture into the panContinue to 10 of 16 below.
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Spread the spinach filling out evenly over the dough
Use a fork to spread the spinach and cheese mixutre evenly over the phyllo dough.Continue to 11 of 16 below.
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Lay the other half of the phyllo sheets on top
Use all the remaining sheets of dough for the top. Fold in the overlap so the sheets fit in the pan. (Continue reading below)
To make a smooth top that hides the folds of the dough, keep one sheet out of the top layer, and place it on top of the other sheets. Trim the edges with a scissors to fit the pan.Continue to 12 of 16 below.
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Use a sharp knife to cut into 20 pieces
Cut all the way through to the bottom.Continue to 13 of 16 below.
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It doesn't have to look perfect
Phyllo (filo) dough is wonderfully forgiving. The cuts don't have to be perfect and the top doesn't have to be perfectly smooth.Continue to 14 of 16 below.
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Use your hand to sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water evenly over the top
Put a little water in your hand and sprinkle. Work with small amounts of water to distribute evenly. Do not touch the dough with wet hands.Continue to 15 of 16 below.
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Bake at 350°F (175°C)
Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.Continue to 16 of 16 below.
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Cut and serve
The filling will be hot, so let the pieces cool before eating. In Greece, spinach pie is served warm or at room temperature.