20 December 2007

Taking Out All the Stops with Spanakopita

Spanakopita
My daughter is coming home today!!! It's time to take out all the stops and make all her favourite treats.
We will be doing some baking over the next few days, but, for her first night here we will relish one of her favourite all time dinners. From the time my daughter was 2 years old there has never been a time when she wouldn't devour spanakopita. (Spa-na-KO-pe-ta). Many children, of all ages, are picky eaters. My daughter has been exposed to my experiments from day one, therefore the blend of spinach, onions, dill, and feta cheese in layers of flaky filo pastry was right up her alley. I am sure she was Greek in a past life! Not to say that she wasn't a picky eater most of the time, but, she would always eat this dish so I knew I would not have to worry and she would be an adventurous eater. Just like mom!



With the spanakopita you can make little individual triangles that you fold up like a flag for appetizers, or, larger versions of the same dish layered in a pan like lasagna or rolled up like a strudel for a main course. This recipe is actually for spanakotyropita or tiropita me feta which has the addition of cheese. I have read that it is often called spanakopita because the larger word is more intimidating. True spanakopita does not have the additon of feta cheese. In Greece there are shops where they sell nothing put pitas or pies of all sizes with a thousand and one fillings. The fascinating thing about pita is the imagination that their fillings can inspire, because there is nothing that would not taste even better when baked in the paper-thin flaky filo pastry.

In Aglaia Kremezi's cookbook, "The Foods of the Greek Islands" she has recipes for several inspired pita dishes. When baked the pitas must never be covered, as this would make the softly crisp layers collapse in on themselves. Apart from that they can be enjoyed either warm or cold, as a meal or a snack, at any time of the day or night. This is a simple version that we enjoy.....

The added bonus here is that we had a potluck at work yesterday as a Christmas celebration. This is my most requested dish , so, I was happy to oblige!!!

**Spanakotyropita**

1/3 cup olive oil
1 small bunch scallions, green included, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-1/2 - 3 lbs spinach, washed
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb feta cheese, crumbled
3 - 4 eggs
12 filo sheets, plus 6 tablespoons melted butter
bread crumbs if necessary

Saute scallions and onions in 1/3 cup oil. Meanwhile, pan the spinach (cook it without adding water and drain thoroughly). Squeeze out excess liquid.(It may need to cool before handling) Chop finely.
Add the spinach to onions and stir in parsley, dill and very little salt and pepper. Cook gently for 10 minutes, then cool.

Using a wooden spoon stir in feta and eggs. (I like lots of feta!!!!!)

Now assemble the pie: If the filling is too liquid add some breadcrumbs before spreading on pastry. Butter a 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking pan and in it spread 6 commercial filo sheets, brushing each with butter. Place filling and spread to edges. Add another 6 filo sheets layered with butter as before. Tuck the top filo over the bottom and flute. Score the top 3 filo sheets.

Bake in moderate oven 350F for 45 minutes or until top is golden and flaky.

Serve warm or cold as a main meal or smaller pieces for appetizers.

Note: Usually when I make spanakopita I roll it like a strudel and then bake. This is just an alternative way to prepare the dish. Score the filo in individual pieces to make it easier to cut after baking.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

14 comments:

  1. Great to be together during Xmas, and great to offer the family what they like!!!
    Here, still waiting for the snow. Could you send some over?
    Merry Christmas!!!

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  2. I'm with your daughter on this one, Valli. I sometimes make this at Christmas for my guests to nibble on while I'm cooking away. I love this!

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  3. Yum!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    Love Holler
    xxx

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  4. YUM YUM YUM Valli! I love Spanikopita. I hope you and yuour daughter have a wonderful time baking for the holidays!

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  5. So nice of you. Enjoy your Holiday with your daughter. Tomorrow we are flying East and in two days we will see ours. Can't wait.

    Merry Christmas!

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  6. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!!

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  7. This sounds lovely, Valli, I am so excited I have a block of filo in the freezer. Enjoy your holiday with your daughter and Merry Christmas!

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  8. Have a great time visiting and baking with your daughter Valli,what a nice Mom you are to have all her favorites ready!!

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  9. These sound really good. They include a lot of great things; spinach, dill, feta, and flaky and buttery filo pastry...mmm...

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  10. I LOVE spanikopita (even if my spelling might be a little off). I'm begining to think I should go visit Greece, because I'm so so curious about the different types of pita.

    Have a great time with your daughter and have a Merry Christmas!

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  11. Welcome home daughter! :) Isn't it funny? My kids will eat spanakopita like there's no tomorrow too. All 4 of them! :) Have a great time together, and a very happy holiday!!! All the best from my family to yours.....

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  12. Gorgeous - I bet these went in a flash!

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  13. I love spanakopita! I think I could eat a whole pan of it. I've never made it, but it will be one of my new year's resolutions.
    Have fun with your daughter! I'm sure she's glad to be back home.

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  14. That looks most excellent. The parsley is an interesting touch - I haven't seen that before. Will definitely have to try it some time.

    Hope you have a happy holiday.

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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