Spanakopita [from the Greek spanos – spinach, and kopita – pie] it pretty easy. Lightly blanch a couple of bunches of spinach and chop up. Chop up a few field mushrooms, a clove of garlic and some spring onions and sautee in a little olive oil. Mix it all in with three free-range eggs, a grated block of feta cheese and a handful of chopped herbs – coriander, marjoram, dill, and parsely. Butter a baking tray, place three sheets of filo pastry brushed with butter on the bottom. Add the mix and then top with three more sheets of filo. Cook at 180C for about 40 minutes.

Jo’s moussaka added gravy like goodness with near dissolved eggplant.

Buggered if I can get a single sheet of filo pastry to not tear before just chucking the rest away in scrumpled digust. Is there a trick to this?

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  1. Santos’s avatar

    no trick. if it’s frozen pastry, defrost (but keep it cold), don’t let it dry out. unfold, place on flat surface, cover with damp towel. take out one sheet at a time, replace damp towel on stack. don’t be in a hurry, and work in a draft-free area.

  2. kissymonkey’s avatar

    Just a tiny correction (from a Greek): spanakopita actually comes from spanaki (spinach) and pita (pie). Great photo of a great dish!

  3. Anthony’s avatar

    Thanks Santos, maybe leaving it in a shopping bag for an hour or two wasn’t the best idea.

    Hello and thanks kissymonkey. That was my making-shit-up explanation on Saturday night but now I know.

  4. Anthony O'D’s avatar

    You could try making your own filo. It doesn’t turn out like the incredibly flaky bought stuff (which I’ve never been a fan of in savoury dishses) but is wonderful in itself and makes for spanakopita (or other pita)I’ve had served up to me in Greek-Australian homes and might occasionally find in a Greek takeaway (Any know the Special Cake Shop in Chapel St Prahran?)

    I learnt to do it from Paula Wolfert’s eastern mediterranean cookbook, and have seen plenty of variations such as those in Aglaia Kremezi’s greek island cookbook.

    Basically it’s flour and (usually carbonated) water; rolled out, brushed with oil and folded over on itself a la puff pastry, then rolled out thinly (but no need to stretch it paper thin like those Austrian hausfraus making strudel dough). Simple, and once you’ve tried it no more packet filo.

  5. Gracianne’s avatar

    It looks so good, especially with the dissolved eggplants.
    Spanaki, spinach, epinards, it’s all the same language really.

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    That’s a great idea. I think it’d be better with a heartier crust for winter and I can free myself from the clutches of filo pastry magnates.

    I don’t know the SCS I’ll have to look out for it next time I’m over.

    The moussaka was super. Yeah spanoko – I didn’t have a clue what it really meant but it is pretty much the same (‘cept for Hungarian and Finnish). Actually speaking of Finnish, we were talking at the dinner of having a Finnish food party for the next Eurovision Song Contest.

  7. Gracianne’s avatar

    Will you dress up as hard rock stars?

  8. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    I’ve never made spinach pie before, but I have trouble with phyllo too. I think a lot depends on the brand you use. Some of them are thinner than others…and yeah, what Santos said works to help the problem too.

    Looks delicious!

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Good question Gracianne. I think there should be extra points for dressing up and bonus if you can guess with a matching costume.

    Hey Reid
    Yeah a lot of it is crap so maybe I should make my own.

    Was tasty but I think the moussaka just had that bit more oomph.

  10. Anonymous’s avatar

    What Santos said. Damp tea towel (I just wet it, wring it out well, and replace if it dries out). Check the label too, some packaged filo is not meant to be defrosted. And I’d say work fast.

    Spanakopita is one of my dirty quick and dishes that I learnt from a Greek – if you are not scared to use frozen chopped spinach.

    A couple of boxes of spinach wilted, refrshed, squeezed out.Abut 1 cup chopped spring onion sauteed in 1/3 cup olive oil. Eggs, crumbled fetta, a slab of fresh ricotta, a small handfull of grated parmesan, salt, pepper, dill, parsley and pinch of nutmeg (just adjust to taste and get consistency not too runny)

    Don’t bother with the butter. Use spray olive oil to grease pan and between filo sheets.

    Can have it in the oven 15 minutes flat from woe to go.

    And if you use same big saucepan to wilt and then fry off onions and mix, next to no wash up.


  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey Saint

    You do work fast, I manage to stretch scrambled eggs into a half hour exercise.

    Given the often sad looking spinach specimens at $2.50 a pop at the local super, there’s nothing wrong with frozen.

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