Spanakopita - 1

Course : Greek
Serves: 20
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1 pound filo dough
1/2 cup olive oil
3 pounds spinach -- (5 packages, if you use frozen
1/2 cup butter -- unsalted
1 medium onion -- chopped
5 large eggs
3 medium leeks -- washed and
1 pound feta cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preparation / Directions:

If you are using fresh spinach, wash it, dip it for a minute or two in boiling water to blanch it, and then chop it. Drain the spinach and squeeze most of the water out of it. Wash thoroughly and chop the white part of the leeks. Peel and chop the onion. Sauté the chopped leeks and onion in the butter. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Mix everything together and simmer for 20 minutes. While the spinach is cooking, grate the feta cheese (I use a food processor). Alternatively, you can crumble it into small chunks. Remove the spinach from heat and add the cheese, eggs (beaten), bread crumbs and milk. Mix everything together and set aside. Grease a square baking pan with a little olive oil. Take one sheet of dough and place it on the bottom of the pan towards one of the corners, in such a way that the dough sticks out a little from two of the sides of the pan. Brush the sheet with olive oil. Repeat this step until you have used about two thirds of the dough, alternating corners and always brushing each sheet of dough with olive oil. Pour the spinach mixture into the pan. Level it, and fold in the sides of the assembled crust. Brush the dough with olive oil. Take one sheet of dough and place it on top of the pie, this time without any bias towards any of the corners. Brush the sheet with olive oil. Repeat this step until you have used all the remaining dough, always brushing each sheet with olive oil. Gently tuck the edges of the top sheets of dough under the sides of the pie. Brush the top with olive oil. Using a sharp knife cut the top of the pie as if you were cutting it to serve it, but don't go all the way to the bottom. Sprinkle the pie with 1 T of water and bake it at 350F for 45 minutes. Let the pie cool and serve. Unless you work quickly when assembling the dough layers, the unused pieces of dough will dry out. Until you become nimble with this process, you can cover the unused dough pieces with a damp dishcloth to prevent them from drying out while you fumble with the construction of the pie. NOTES: Greek spinach and feta cheese pie -- This recipe is from a Greek cookbook, with my modifications and the addition of my mother's secret ingredient, leeks. "Filo" or "fyllo" is the Greek word for "leaf." * I find that frozen spinach works wonderfully for this recipe. Also, it's cheaper and somewhat easier to prepare. The pie keeps well out of the refrigerator for a few days and can (indeed, some claim must) be eaten at room temperature. Because of the way the pie is constructed, pieces cut from the corners and sides of the pan are particularly crunchy, and a lot of people consider them the best part of the pie. This suits me just fine, because I like the middle pieces which have more filling! * The original recipe called for twice the amount of olive oil, but I find that I don't need that m

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