Puff, Puff, Pies


Every once in a while – not too often of course – I stop blogging about food for long enough to go cook something. Spinach pie (spanakopita) is one of the first semi-gourmet things I figured out how to make. It’ s one of those dishes that is fairly easy to do but somehow still really impresses people.

Unfortunately, I seem to have run into some bad kitchen karma lately, possibly due to my making fun of gansie and Howie. While shopping for ingredients, I made a major mistake and bought plain old puff pastry dough instead of perfect phyllo. So I had my spinach filling all mixed and ready to go, and opened up my phyllo to discover that instead of 100 sheets of beautiful flaky goodness, I had four doughy layers of puff that would be much better for making some kind of weird English meat pie than the delicate spanakopita.

I grabbed a rolling pin and did some emergency work, flattening them out to more sheet-like layers and then just went ahead and made it anyway. Fortunately, this was one of those “how bad can it be” situations, since it was still a mixture of dough, butter, spinach and cheese.

Recipe, assuming you buy the correct ingredients, after the jump.

For the filling, mix together:

-1 package of defrosted frozen spinach (I think it’s much easier to work with for this than leafy fresh spinach)

-1 chopped yellow onion

-1 block of crumbled feta cheese. I don’t crumble it as small as if you’re putting it in a salad – I like to leave it in bigger chunks so you get some nice big tastes of it.

-1 egg

-Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder.

Construct the pie in a large pyrex dish:

-Melt 1/2 stick of butter. Using a pastry brush, grease the bottom of the dish.

-Spread layers of the phyllo across the dish, liberally buttering them with the pastry brush every 3 or 4 layers.

-After about 15 layers, spread your spinach filling across the phyllo.

-Add 15 more layers of phyllo on top of the spinach in the same manner – make sure to butter the top layer so you get that crispy brown finish.

-Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until you get that golden-brown goodness.

If there are any Greek grandmas out there, let me know if I missed anything.

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  • gansie September 10, 2007  

    do you ever vary the spinach mixture…I’d think some red pepper flakes would be great here.

  • BS September 10, 2007  

    red pepper would be good…I’ve actually been trying to think of something major to add – I’ve tried chicken but the texture was a bit off, was thinking maybe roasted red peppers or somethign spicy next time

  • Edouble September 10, 2007  

    How about finely diced kalamata olives?

  • BS September 10, 2007  

    oh WOW that is an amazing idea…def going in the mix next time

  • JoeHoya September 11, 2007  

    You might also think about adding pine nuts for some crunch.

  • gansie September 11, 2007  

    JoeHoya! You’re back! We missed you! Tell us about Peru, please.

  • JoeHoya September 11, 2007  

    I’ve been back! But it’s nice to know I was missed. Peru was a great time – lots of fun things to eat (alpaca, guinea pig, strange fruits that look HORRIBLE but taste less horrible) and definitely an amazing trip.

    I don’t want to hijack BS’s spanakopita discussion, but I’d be happy to email you some details or fill you in some other way if you’d like.

  • BS September 11, 2007  

    have any food pics to share?

  • JoeHoya September 11, 2007  

    As luck would have it, one of the other volunteers on the program we did took photos of pretty much EVERYTHING – something like 2500 pictures over the course of two weeks. She got pictures of a lot of our meals, including all of the foods I mentioned above and quite a few others.

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