Your Holiday & Seasonal Guide for Food & Lifestyle

Spanakopita

spanakopitaThis is not your ordinary spanakopita…but its close!

Although Spanakopita is a traditional Greek dish, my family recipe now has a unique twist…I never use FILO dough. You might find that to be a little unusual, but if you knew my family, I think you would understand.  I remember as a child, the process of preparing the dough for our family’s spanakopita recipe was a daylong event.  Using a specially designed dowel, both my mother and yai yai, (Greek for “grandmother”), painstakingly rolled their own thin layers of dough.  My mother still uses a special dowel to roll out her extremely thin and delicate layers of dough when she makes spanakopita because a regular rolling pin just doesn’t work.  Once the layers of dough had been sufficiently rolled out, they’d carefully carry the dough to the bedroom and spread each layer out on a bed sheet for safekeeping while drying.  Now I love my mother and I enjoy eating her spanakopita, but quite frankly, I can’t imagine myself taking an entire day to recreate this dish…not ever!  I’ve decided that the only way I was going to keep the family tradition of eating homemade spanakopita alive was to recreate it with a time saving twist. I first thought that using store bought FILO dough was the obvious option, but I realized that it wouldn’t taste the same because FILO dough has a noticeably different texture than my family’s homemade dough.  Then I decided to try puff pastry dough…the perfect solution!  With a minimal amount of rolling, and fewer layers, I was able to achieve the same texture and taste as our tried and true traditional recipe, but in much less time…and I’m all for that.  You will be too!  If you love spinach and feta cheese, this is a great recipe to try.  From my family to yours!

Here is how I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grab your 9×13 pan.

Pastry dough

Each sheet of pastry dough needs to be adjusted, rolled and cut accordingly.  Work with one pastry sheet at a time.  Lightly flour your work area.  Open up the pastry dough, separate one fold from the other two.  Cut the fold in half and attach one piece to the each of the other folds.  Press the pieces together to attach them as best as you can.  Flour your work surface and the top of your dough and roll out to a 27″ length x 9-1/2″ width.  Use your 9×13 pan as a guide to measure two pieces.  Cut your dough in half vertically.  Repeat with next two sheets, you will have 6 sheets total.

spanakopita cooked setup

          

Filling

Squeeze the water out of your spinach.  Use a dishcloth. Combine spinach in a large bowl with eggs, milk, and salt.  Mix well.  Add feta and mix to combine.

Assembling your spanakopita

Place one pastry sheet at the bottom of your pan, brush with butter.  Place a second pastry sheet on top and brush with butter.  Top with 1/3 of filler and third pastry sheet and brush with butter.  Top with second third of filler and fourth pastry sheet and brush with butter.  Top with remaining filler and last two pastry sheets; brush each sheet with butter.  Bake for 1 hour and rest for 1 hour before cutting into 24 even pieces.

spanakopita dough

 

 

spanakopita cooked

 

Spanakopita is a great appetizer or side dish for the holidays.  We eat it warmed, but I like it cold as well.  It freezes well, so you can take out a few pieces at a time to eat.

 

Spanakopita
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is not your ordinary spanakopita...but it's close!
Author:
Recipe type: Side, Appetizer
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 packages (3 sheets) frozen puff pastry dough (17.3 ounces) , defrosted
  • flour for rolling the pastry dough
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3-10 oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1-1/4 lbs. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grab your 9x13 pan.
Pastry dough
  1. Work with one pastry sheet at a time. Lightly flour your work area. Open up the pastry dough, separate one fold from the other two.
  2. Cut the fold in half and attach one piece to the each of the other folds. Press the pieces together to attach them as best as you can.
  3. Flour your work surface and the top of your dough and roll out to a 27" length x 9-1/2" width. Use your 9x13 pan as a guide to measure two pieces.
  4. Cut your dough in half vertically.
  5. Repeat with next two sheets, you will have 6 sheets total.
Filling
  1. Squeeze the water out of your spinach.
  2. Combine spinach in a large bowl with eggs, milk, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add feta and mix to combine.
Assembling your spanakopita
  1. Place one pastry sheet at the bottom of your pan, brush with butter.
  2. Place a second pastry sheet on top and brush with butter.
  3. Top with ⅓ of filler and third pastry sheet and brush with butter.
  4. Top with second third of filler and fourth pastry sheet and brush with butter.
  5. Top with remaining filler and last two pastry sheets; brushing each sheet with butter.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and rest for 1 hour before cutting into 24 even pieces.
Notes
A great way to remove water from spinach is to place your spinach in a dish towel. Wrap the spinach in your towel and twist to squeeze out the water.
Portion your butter out to six sheets as you layer.

 

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Comments

  1. What a lovely story about a special family recipe! What a delicious and versatile dish! Perfect for the upcoming holidays!

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