A freshly baked batch of Greek Spanakopita is as comforting to eat as it is therapeutic to make.
- 1 bunch spinach or silverbeet
- 200 g feta
- 200 g ricotta
- 40 g (½ cup) finely grated hard cheese such as parmesan or pecorino
- 5 eggs
- 2 Tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 dill sprigs, chopped
- 4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 375 g fresh (not frozen) filo pastry
- 125 g butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Trim the roots from the spinach or if using silverbeet, cut out the stems. Wash leaves and drain well. Coarsely shred and set aside (see Note).
- Place the feta in a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Add the ricotta, hard cheese, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, oil, dill and spring onions. Mix with the fork to combine. Place the spinach or silverbeet on top and mix lightly with your hands.
- Lightly oil or butter a 20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm baking dish. Lay the filo out on a work surface. Line the dish with a sheet of filo and brush it with butter. Top with another sheet of filo brushed with butter and continue until about half the filo is used.
- Use your hand or a large metal spoon to gently mix the spinach filling until thoroughly combined. Tip into the filo base and spread out evenly. Layer with the remaining sheets of filo brushed with butter, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered. Trim off any overhanging pastry and tuck in the sides.
- Use a sharp knife to score the pastry into diamonds. Pierce the pastry once or twice to allow air to escape during baking. Sprinkle lightly with water and bake in the oven for 45–60 minutes or until well browned. Gently shake the baking dish; the spanakopita should slide easily when it is cooked.
Spanakopita Tips and tricks
- The spinach can be prepared a day ahead. It must be as dry as possible to ensure the spanakopita does not become soggy.
- When not using the filo, cover it with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to keep it from drying out.
- Cover spanakopita with foil if it is over-browning in the oven.
- If using a fan forced oven heat oven to 165C instead of 180C.
- The pastry will go soft the next day but still tastes great.
- Can freeze if you don’t mind the softer filo.
- Try this recipe as individual spinach and cheese triangles, they just need half the cooking time.
On a personal note…
I most definitely can’t take the credit for this delicious recipe. It came straight from the Greek episode of SBS Food Safari (I own every season on DVD). I changed the recipe slightly as the original was a tad salty for my liking. The original cheese amounts were 300g feta and 100g ricotta. Source: SBS Food Food Safari (includes video)