I learned how to make spanakopita (spinach pie) in my hometown of Koroni in Greece’s Peloponnese. However it wasn’t until I came to Australia, in the early 1960s, that my neighbour, from Veria in northern Greece, showed me how to make the filo pastry by buttering and stacking layers. (I previously just used one layer of very thin pastry.) She showed me how to roll it out, then pull it gently until it is very, very thin. It’s a delicate process. You then cut and layer the sheets. The cooked pastry is so flaky and buttery, it melts in your mouth.
I make the filo pastry on a table in my backyard in Collingwood, Melbourne. It gets quite messy. I make at least six pies at one time, but it doesn’t take very long for me to give them all away. I love making friends and family happy through my pies, which are quite famous – I should win a prize! I have taught lots of people how to make them.
I’m 81 now. My hands hurt, but as long as I can roll out the pastry, I will keep making spanakopita.
Photography George Mifsud