Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

Appetizers/Side Dishes, Recipes

This is a wonderful appetizer that each cook modifies slightly to suit their personal preferences. Some people use a lot more onions, some use none at all. Cheese types and quantity can be varied to suit your diet. This appetizer is often served in triangles but the pie recipe is quicker to prepare and easier for first timers who have never had someone show them how to roll the triangles.

1 package filo dough, frozen
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach or 2 pounds of blanched fresh spinach
1 lb. cheeses: can be a combination of feta, hoop, cottage, ricotta
1/4 tsp. salt
6 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. oil
1/4 lb. sweet, salted butter
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup fresh dill, chopped

Put filo dough in the refrigerator overnight and leave at room temperature at least 1/2 hour before using.

Thaw frozen spinach and squeeze out all water. Saute onions in olive oil. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Drain any extra water (if you didn’t thaw frozen spinach as directed).

Crumble cheeses, using fork to break feta cheese up. Add more salt if using hoop or cottage cheese as substitute. Mix in eggs. Add chopped dill. Set aside.

Un-wrap filo and smooth creases out. Plan to use half of the filo sheets for the bottom layer and the other half for the top. (Keep covered while using, filo dries out quickly.)

For spinach pie (versus triangles) it is best to use a large rectangular pan (at least 13 x 9).

Heat butter in small saucepan. Add some olive oil. Oil pan generously, bottom and sides, using pastry brush.

Lay first sheet of filo in pan, letting excess lap over edges. Sprinkle with warm oil. Lay a second layer and sprinkle with a little more oil. Continue until half of the filo is used. Spread all the spinach mixture evenly over the filo, including the corners. Cover with remaining filo, oiling between sheets. Do not throw any filo away; include it in; it is all edible.

Roll and tuck all the filo around the inside edges of the pan. Do not trim with scissors or knife as one would for pie crust. Brush top and edges with remaining oil. Some cooks will brush an egg white mixture on the final layer and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top for a fancier look.

The pie will easier to cut if you score before cooking. Prepare pie can be chilled and then scored with a sharp knife into squares before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown. Serve hot, cut into square pieces. Do not cover with aluminum foil as it will make the dough soggy. Cover lightly with wax paper or a clean towel. Reheat uncovered so the top crust will remain crispy

Spanakopita can be prepared ahead of time and frozen uncooked.

This video demonstrates a slightly different recipe but shows how to put the layers together.