I know, I know. I’ve been remiss. The last time I posted was LAST year. 2016 seems so far away right now. Happy New Year! The new year brings resolutions of healthy eating, self-control, and saying no to the temptations that will undoubtedly arise. But hear me out: moderation is the key.
On that note; let’s talk about spanakopita for one hot minute. Oven baked, filled with spinach and a moderate amount of ricotta and feta, mixed with delicious spices and nuts- enveloped in crispy phyllo, and brushed with golden olive oil. Not bad for you if you eat one or two, I promise.
It was my very first time attempting to make spanakopita despite having a huge appetite for them. I always assumed it was extremely difficult to make; that is simply not the case.
Where does this delicious appetizer originate? You guessed it. Greece. (Don’t they just have the best flavours over there?!) Spanakopita translates into “spinach pie” in Greek, and is a savoury Greek pastry that is beloved by many! It can be found in almost any Greek restaurant in North America.
The one major tip I can tell you before you attempt to make this- THAW YOUR PHYLLO!! Phyllo pastry is incredibly thin and delicate. If you do not thaw out the roll completely and lay it flat, it’ll be impossible to separate the sheets without cracking them. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this before I started, and had to chunk most of the phyllo having used less than half.
Here is the picturized tutorial:
For the filling:
Step 1: Beat Eggs and Cheeses Together
Step 2: Whisk until smooth with spices
Step 3: Thaw, Drain, and Dry Spinach
Step 4: Add spinach to egg and cheese mixture
Step 5: Stir until just combined
Step 6: Chop toasted Walnuts Finely
Step 7: Add walnuts to rest of the filling and stir to combine
- 1 cup light feta cheese, crumbled
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup finely chopped spring onions
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cayenne pepper (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1¼ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and dried
- ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 package phyllo pastry, thawed overnight
- 1 cup olive oil
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a bowl, beat two eggs lightly and beat in feta, ricotta, spring onions, lemon juice, garlic, allspice, cayenne pepper, and regular pepper.
- After thawing and draining the frozen spinach, add to mixture with toasted, chopped walnuts and combine. Your filling is complete
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Roll out thawed phyllo and cut into 3-inch wide strips. On your work surface, lay out one strip and brush with olive oil and layer a second strip on top and brush with olive oil once more
- Place a dollop of of the filling in the corner of the strips and fold into a triangle as shown in the picturized tutorial above. Close the seam with water or olive oil
- Place on the baking tray (seam down) and brush the triangle with olive oil on both sides
- Repeat until you have used all the filling (you should have about 30 triangles)
- Bake both trays in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown and crispy. Rotate the pans to ensure even baking