Introduction: Easy Spanakopita - Spinach Pie
This is a recipe that I stumbled my way to inventing... Oh... 3 years ago. Coming from a Greek family but thoroughly detesting how complex some of our recipes can be, I set out to make a simplified spanakopita (spinach pie), without sacrificing any of the taste. Please be aware, though, that you will need feta cheese. If you're not going to use feta, then you might as well not even bother. That and the phyllo dough are as exotic as it's going to get, though. The rest of this stuff you should be able to find in your average grocery store:
1 package phyllo dough
5 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
8 oz. chive and garlic cream cheese
Butter (or Olive Oil)
1/2 lb. Fresh spinach
You will also need:
A mixing bowl
A spatula or your hands
A baking sheet
An oven, preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
A cutting board
Anything else you feel you might need
Step 1: Fixing the Filling
Wash, drain, and chop the spinach. Leave the stems in, it's perfectly alright. It doesn't have to be cut too finely, as you'll want your greens to have some substance in the dish.
Make sure the cream cheese is soft before you beat in a whole egg. Toss the spinach in and mix well.
Now add your feta. Feta cheese is notoriously salty, so be aware of that if you plan on adding any extra spices for whatever reason (weirdo).
Step 2: Preparing the Phyllo
I hope to never have to make my own phyllo. It is tedious and produces a huge mess; rolling pins have never been my friend. That said, you should be able to find it in most large grocery store chains, in the frozen foods section near the pie crusts and puff pastry. If not, go to your nearest Greek or Middle Eastern grocery store and ask for it there.
Open up the package and carefully remove the sheets of dough. They are thin, they can prove delicate, but don't fear the phyllo.
Make sure that you're working on a large, clean surface. Unfold the dough and separate out a sheet. Brush a thin layer of butter or olive oil across the entire surface. Lay another layer of dough atop it and repeat. Now, one more time. You should have three sheets, all with butter or olive oil between them. You can add more layers if you'd like, but be aware that this will add cook time and more and more dough makes the resulting dish less and less healthy, if significantly flakier. Plus, you'll be folding it over in just a moment, and you don't want your spinach pie to be all phyllo.
Step 3: Composition and Cooking
Spoon the filling onto the centre of your prepared phyllo dough. I'd recommend about an inch high and about 4"x6;" this will get a little smaller as folding the dough compacts the filling a bit. Take one end of the dough and fold it over your filling. Grab the bit with the filling in it and fold over again. Repeat until you've reached the end. Now take the perpendicular ends and fold one end on top of the centre and tuck the other end underneath.
After brushing a thin coating of butter atop the pies, let them bake for 25-30 minutes on a greased baking sheet, or until they turn golden-brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool atop the stove. When they are not scalding, they are ready to eat!
Step 4: Chow Time!
These pies are enough to be a very filling main course, but they are also plenty enough to share with a friend. a common serving suggestion is pairing a spinach pie with a Greek village salad (No Instructable needed; it's just cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta, and a dressing made of olive oil, salt, and oregano). If you make smaller ones, they make a lovely appetizer, and believe me, this is way cheaper than buying the little triangular ones pre-made.
But no matter how you prepare it, make you that you at least get a taste, because these babies go fast! Kali orexi!
And Happy Pi(e) Day!
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