Similar to the Greek spanakopita, which is made with filo pastry, variations of these flaky Lebanese spinach and feta pies are eaten in Middle Eastern countries including Turkey and Syria.
- 50 ml warm milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1½ tsp dried yeast
- 350 g (2⅓ cups) '00’ pasta flour (see Note)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil, plus extra, to grease
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 300 g (1 bunch) English spinach, trimmed, washed, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp sumac
- 40 g (¼ cup) toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 100 g crumbled fetta or grated haloumi
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.
Proving time 1 hour 15 minutes
Standing time 30 minutes
To make dough, combine milk, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Add flour, 2 tablespoons of the oil, ½ tsp salt and 160 ml water and stir to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and set aside to prove in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, to make filling, place spinach and onion in a colander, sprinkle over 1½ tsp salt and toss spinach until well combined. Set aside for 30 minutes, then squeeze out excess moisture. Place in a bowl with spices, pine nuts, lemon juice, fetta and ½ tsp black pepper, and toss to combine.
Divide dough into 6 and roll out each piece on a lightly floured work surface to 20cm rounds. Place one-sixth of the filling in the centre of a round and shape filling into a triangle. Fold two sides of dough, slightly overlapping, over filling, then fold up third side to form a triangle. Lightly press edges together to seal and brush triangle with remaining oil. Carefully place triangles on a greased oven tray. Repeat with remaining filling and dough, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes or until slightly risen.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C. Bake triangles for 15 minutes or until light golden and cooked through. Serve spinach triangles warm with lemon wedges.
• '00’ pasta flour, available from supermarkets and delis, is a super-fine Italian flour grade. Substitute plain flour.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3.