Spanakotiropita

Spanakotiropita

By
From
A la Grecque
Serves
12
Photographer
Mark Roper

In Kosta’s village there is a great deal of rivalry among the women as to who makes the best spanakotiropita. I believe the secret is in the ratio of pastry to filling, and in the quality of the butter. There must be enough filling to provide moisture, balance of flavours and lightness, or the pie will be heavy and not as interesting. The taste of the butter is of utmost importance for a fresh, sweet pastry. Although this isn’t a problem in Australia, it can be hard to achieve in Greece where fresh butter is not readily available, especially in small villages. Many women substitute margarine or vitam (which is made from corn oil), but in my view this spoils the flavour of the pita and is a travesty, given the amount of work involved.

You can use the recipe for filo pastry, or good quality emek yufka, which is a commercially available handmade filo, available from Greek or Turkish delicatessens or supermarkets.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g unsalted butter, melted
750g spinach leaves, washed and drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs
450g feta cheese
dash tabasco
6 sheets Filo pastry
or 400g emek yufka

Method

  1. Brush a 4 cm deep x 30 cm round baking tray generously with melted butter.
  2. To make the filling, in a large saucepan wilt the spinach with the oil and pepper over a medium heat.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and season with more black pepper and a dash of Tabasco.
  4. If using handmade filo pastry, trim the pastry, so that it is just a little bigger than the tray. Layer in 2 sheets of pastry, brushing each with a little melted butter. Spread on half the spinach and top with half the cheese filling. Cover with another sheet of pastry and brush with a little more melted butter. Spread on the remaining spinach and cheese filling then top with the remaining 3 pastry sheets, buttering as you go. Fold the pastry edges in and down the sides of the tin, so as to neatly enclose the filling.
  5. If using emek yufka, cut each sheet into quarters. Lay 4 quarters in the base of the buttered baking tray, overlapping them in the centre of the tray and up the sides, with a 2 cm overhang. Layer on another 4 quarters, buttering as you go. Spread on half the spinach and top with half the cheese filling. Cover with another 4 quarters of emek yufka and brush with a little more melted butter. Spread on the remaining spinach and cheese filling then top with 4 more quarters of pastry. Fold the edges of the pastry in and down the sides of the tin, so as to neatly enclose the filling.
  6. Brush the top of the pie with more melted butter, being especially careful not to brush on any white milk solids, as they will burn and look unsightly.
  7. Refrigerate the spanakotiropita for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180ºC. Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 portions then bake for 50 minutes. Check the spanakotiropita then reduce the heat to 170ºC and bake for a further 10 minutes. The pie should puff up in the centre and be a lovely deep golden colour.
Tags:
Greek
Greece
European
Mediterranean
SBS
Grecque
Grecque
Pam
Talimanidis
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