This is a classic Greek recipe for spinach and feta pie which originated in Thessaly. The traditional technique of rolling out all the separate layers and making the pastry goes back generations.
- 3½ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup warm water, enough to form a soft dough
- 100 g butter, melted
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ bunch silverbeet, washed
- 1 bunch English spinach, washed
- olive oil
- ¾ cup French shallots, finely sliced
- 200 g Australian feta
- 100 g Greek feta
- 2 tbsp each of flat-leaf parsley, dill, basil leaves and mint leaves, chopped
- pepper, to season
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
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.
You will need a round 28 cm diameter baking tray. Prepare the baking tray by coating the base and sides with butter and a little olive oil.
To make the pastry, mix the flour with salt in a large bowl and make a well in centre. Add olive oil and enough warm water to make a soft dough. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and soft, cover with cling wrap and put aside.
To make the filling, wash the silverbeet and spinach well and chop. Lightly grease a deep frying pan with olive oil, add spinach and silverbeet, stirring occasionally over medium heat until wilted. Drain excess water and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Chop and fry the shallots in a frying pan with a little olive oil over low heat, until translucent. Place in bowl with wilted greens. Crumble the feta cheeses into the bowl using your fingertips. Add the chopped herbs, pepper and the lightly beaten eggs and mix well. The feta cheese is quite salty so no extra salt is required. Set aside and prepare the pastry.
Break the dough into eleven smaller balls and using a rolling pin, roll out one of the balls into a pastry round about the size of a bread plate size. Combine the melted butter and oil and lightly brush the top of the rolled pastry. Repeat this 5 times to create a stack of 6 rounds where each layer is buttered except for the top layer. Then roll this stack to form one large pastry round – this is the pastry base. It needs to be rolled out larger than the baking tray so that it comes up the sides of baking tray.
Repeat these steps to make the pie’s pastry top. Only making a stack of 5 rounds instead of 6. Roll the 5 rounds to form the lid. Place the filling into the pan, then cover with the lid. Pinch and crimp the edges together to seal.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Brush the top with melted butter mixture and using a knife gently cut into the pastry in a large grid manner. This is to prevent a dome rising in the centre of pie during baking.
Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 180ºC and bake a further 10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow pie to sit 10 minutes before cutting.