There’s a lot to like about Spanakopita, or feta and spinach pie (or just feta pie as an easy sell for the kids). This delicious Greek pie combines fresh spinach, mixed with the salty tang of feta cheese and egg, flavoured with shallots and nutmeg and wrapped in crunchy light filo pastry.
It’s super easy to make, though it can be a bit time consuming, as I like to cook the spinach separately (otherwise it can make the pasty soggy). Probably the most time consuming part is laying out and brushing the filo pastry. Sometimes I go 50:50 with butter and olive oil, if I’m feeling like it should be healthier. This is a great summer dinner, served with a salad of lettuce leaves, fresh tomatoes and olives. Alternatively, make individual triangles (using about six sheets of filo pastry) for a great picnic meal. Eat straight from oven, or at room temperature.
- 2 bunches spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 shallots (or spring onion), finely chopped
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 200 g feta, crumbed
- 100 g ricotta
- 40 g (½ cup) finely grated hard cheese such as kefalograviera (kefalotyri) or parmesan
- 2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 120 g butter, melted
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
- Remove stalks from the spinach, then wash and drain.
- Place spinach in a large pan, covered over a medium heat to wilt. Allow to drain in a colander, then roughly chop.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat , then fry the shallots until soft. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the eggs, dill, feta, ricotta, hard cheese, breadcrumbs, shallots, spinach, nutmeg and pepper.
- Lightly oil or butter a 20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm baking dish.
- Lay the filo pastry out on a work surface (keep covered with a damp cloth to stop the pastry drying out). Line the dish with a sheet of filo and brush it with butter.
- Repeat with five more sheets of filo.
- Pour the filling into the dish over the filo, then top with another sheet of filo.
- Repeat with remaining sheets (brushing each with butter before placing it on top).
- Trim excess pastry from sides of bottom layer and tuck the edges of the top layers into the sides of the dish.
- Score surface lightly and brush with a little water.
- Bake in oven for 45 minutes until browned on top.
- Remove from it’s baking dish and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes on a rack before serving.