This version of spanakopita uses homemade pastry for added richness, but you could also use store-bought filo.
- ⅓ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 large red or yellow onions, finely chopped
- 6 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 1 kg (2 lb) fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and drained well
- ½ cup fresh dill, chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 cups Greek feta, crumbled
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh nutmeg, grated, to taste
- ½ cup bulgur rice or trahana, if needed
- one recipe for homemade filo
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil, for brushing filo
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 10 minutes
1. In a large frying pan or wide saucepan over medium flame, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions and spring onions until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
2. In the same pan, add the chopped spinach - in batches, if needed - and heat until most of the liquid cooks off. Drain the spinach very well in a colander (press the spinach to squeeze out excess moisture) and add to the onion mixture.
3. Mix in the herbs and feta. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let the filling cool. If the filling is too wet or loose, mix in the bulgur, rice or trahana, which will absorb excess liquid as the pie bakes.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Divide the homemade filo into 4 equal balls. Lightly oil a 38 cm/15 in round baking pan.
5. Roll out the first ball to a circle slightly larger than the circumference of the pan, so that a bit of the dough would hang over the edges.
6. To add the dough circle into the pan, fold it in half and then in half again, so that it looks like a rounded-off triangle. Place the tip of the triangle in the middle of the oiled baking pan and unfold the pastry to cover the surface of the pan and hang a bit over the sides. Brush generously with olive oil.
7. Repeat with the second sheet, brushing it generously with olive oil. Spread the filling over the filo then repeat the rolling procedure with the third filo ball, oiling that layer, too.
8. On the top and final layer, lay the filo down by holding it over the top of your hands and wrists and placing it gently over the surface, letting it fall in uneven folds over the surface.
9. Using scissors or a knife cut off excess dough, leaving a 2.5 cm (1 inch) overhang, then use your fingers join the overhanging top and bottom layers together to form a decorative rim around the edge of the pie.
10. Score the filo into serving size pieces, brush the top layer with olive oil, and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until the filo is firm, set and beautifully browned. Remove and let cool for at least a half-hour before serving.
•You can also use store-bought filo pastry for the spinach pie. If using store-bought filo, defrost it overnight and bring to room temperature before using. Layer 8 sheets on the bottom, brushing each with olive oil. Spread the filling over the pastry. Layer and brush another 6 sheets of filo. Sprinkle the top sheet with a little water and score into serving pieces. Bake and serve as above. (Extra layers are used when working with commercial filo as it is much thinner.)