This dish originates from Greece: it will evoke tastes of the Mediterranean. A really delicious mix of feta cheese and spinach, encased in layers of crispy, buttery little phyllo pastry triangles or squares. Soft goat’s cheese or grated mature Cheddar may be used. Spanakopita is best served at room temperature and is ideal for picnics and packed lunches. It is very colourful. Because the flavours marry well, it will be a demo hit. This dish can serve up to 6 people.
- 1 x box phyllo pastry
- 500g baby-leaf spinach
- 350g feta cheese (or 200g feta and 150g goat’s cheese) crumbled
- 30ml toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds, and a few untoasted to top the pie
- 15ml fresh chopped mint
- 1 red onion, finely chopped and sweated in a little olive oil
- Generous grating of nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 90g – 100g melted butter
- Preheat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan /Gas mark 6.
- Grease a 25 cm square baking pan, preferably loose-bottomed. Use melted butter to grease.
- Remove 8 of the sheets of phyllo from the box; keep remainder of phyllo covered with a damp cloth while working with the pie.
- Steam spinach for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Squeeze out every drop of liquid from the cooked spinach, and chop.
- Mix together all the filling ingredients, except melted butter, and check the seasoning. Check salt; feta is already quite salty.
- Begin by layering 4 sheets of phyllo on top of one another, brushing melted butter between each layer. Place first layer of phyllo sideways, the second from top to bottom; repeat (4 layers in all). Add the filling and spread evenly.
- Repeat the layering of phyllo as above. Trim off any overhanging pastry. Scrunch this up and place on top of the buttered top layer.
- Sprinkle over a few untoasted pine nuts or slivered almonds and brush with remaining butter.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 180ºC/160ºC fan/Gas mark 4 and continue to bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
- The pie should be a crispy golden brown.
- Remove from oven, leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- Turn out while still slightly warm; cut into squares or triangles and serve.
- Place steamed spinach between two plates which are placed on top of each other; as if stacking the plates.
- Squeeze the plates together and tilt vertically, over the sink.
- The excess liquid will run out and really dry, cooked spinach will be achieved.
Equipment: Scale, measuring cups and spoons, jug, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, sharp knife, chopping board, tablespoon, square 25 cm tin, damp tea towel, scissors, oven gloves, cooling rack, serving platter, mini serving tongs/toothpicks, paper towel/serving cups and spoons.