This classic Greek filo pie makes a perfect light lunch or dinner, and has such a fabulous combination of flavours – spinach, dill and spring onions with a creamy mix of cheeses. Alternatively, you can cut it into small diamonds and serve as an appetiser.
Filo pastry is a staple in Dimitra's household and the key to great filo pie is that drizzle of butter between each layer and this complements the pastry perfectly.
- 1 bunch spinach or silverbeet
- 300 g feta
- 100 g ricotta
- 40 g (½ cup) finely grated hard cheese such as kefalograviera, parmesan or pecorino
- 5 eggs
- 2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 dill sprigs, chopped
- 4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 375 g fresh (not frozen) filo pastry
- 125 g butter, melted
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 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Trim the roots from the spinach or if using silverbeet, cut out the stems. Wash leaves and drain well. Coarsely shred and set aside (see Note).
Place the feta in a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Add the ricotta, hard cheese, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, oil, dill and spring onions. Mix with the fork to combine. Place the spinach or silverbeet on top and mix lightly with your hands.
Lightly oil or butter a 20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm baking dish. Lay the filo out on a work surface. Line the dish with a sheet of filo and brush it with butter. Top with another sheet of filo brushed with butter and continue until about half the filo is used. When not using the filo, cover it with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to keep it from drying out.
Use your hand or a large metal spoon to gently mix the spinach filling until thoroughly combined. Tip into the filo base and spread out evenly. Layer with the remaining sheets of filo brushed with butter, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered. Trim off any overhanging pastry and tuck in the sides.
Use a sharp knife to score the pastry into diamonds. Pierce the pastry once or twice to allow air to escape during baking. Sprinkle lightly with water and bake in the oven for 45–60 minutes or until well browned. Gently shake the baking dish; the spanakopita should slide easily when it is cooked. Cover with foil if it is over-browning. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.
• The spinach can be prepared a day ahead. It must be as dry as possible to ensure the spanakopita does not become soggy.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.