Recipe video above. Spanakopita - the iconic traditional Greek Spinach Pie with layers upon layers of golden buttery flaky filo pastry. For the best Spanakopita of your life, use raw rather than cooked spinach, and layer the phyllo pastry with finely shredded Greek cheese so it sticks together rather than flying everywhere when you cut it!This pie is a perfect thickness with a good ratio of Spinach Feta filling to pastry. It will serve 4 to 5 people as a main dish.
Keyword: filo pastry, greek pie, Spanakopita, Spinach pie
Servings: 4- 5 as a main
300g/10ozEnglish spinach leaves, trimmed from thick stems, thoroughly washed, dried, then chopped into 2.5cm/1" pieces (Note 1)
Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F (200°C fan). Line a tray with baking paper / parchment paper.
Sweat spinach: Place spinach in a large colander or bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss through. Leave for 10 minutes to sweat.
Wring out water: Place a handful of spinach in a tea towel, then wring out tightly to remove excess water.
Filling: Place spinach in a bowl with remaining Filling ingredients. Mix well to combine.
Trim filo: Cut 16 sheets of filo pastry into 32 x 25cm / 13 x 10" (pictured) or 26cm / 10.5" square.
8 base layers: Layer 8 sheets of filo pastry on the tray, brushing each layer with melted butter.
Filling: Spread filling on filo pastry. Smooth surface and leave a 2.5cm / 1" border.
8 Filo topping layers (Note 4): Cover spinach with a sheet of filo pastry. Brush with butter, sprinkle with Kefalotyri. Repeat for Sheets #2 to #5. Then cover with filo sheets #6 to #8, brushing with butter in between, but do NOT sprinkle with cheese (neater finish).
Seal: Press edges down to seal. Crimp and trim if desired (see process steps in post or video) or just leave the edges flat on the tray.
Sesame seeds: Brush the top with butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake: Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown on the surface.
Serve! Serve immediately! It is at its absolute prime fresh out of the oven, though still good as long as its hot (~15 min or so). The base does lose crispiness as it cools.
1. Spinach – This recipe is best made using bunches of fresh true spinach (not chard / silverbeet), known as English Spinach.You will need ~2 large bunches weighing 600g/ 1.2lb in total in order to get ~300g/10oz of spinach leaves once trimmed from the stems. Pick off the leaves, weigh out 300g/10oz. Wash thoroughly (spinach leaves are notoriously dirty!). Then dry and chop. I dry using a salad spinner, in batches, or spread out on tea towels and leave to air dry.2. Filo pastry (aka phyllo pastry) – Paper thin pastry sheets used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It's easier to use refrigerated filo pastry if you can, as it's more pliable than frozen thawed and thus easier to handle. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes prior. Once you take it out of the package, keep it covered with a slightly damp tea towel so it doesn't dry out.Australia: I recommend Antoniou brand filo pastry sold in the fridge section. You will need 1 x 375g packs which has 18 to 22 sheets in each pack (we need 16 for this recipe). See below for usage ideas for leftovers, including trimmings. If you use the frozen packs, you'll need 1 pack but they often only have 15 sheets so you'll need to assemble the offcuts to do one of the layers.US: I understand the standard size is 1 lb packs which has 40 sheets so you'll have a fair amount of leftovers. Make 2 Spanakopita, hey?!!! Frozen phyllo pastry – Thaw overnight in the fridge. Don’t try to rush the thawing by placing it in a warm place. It makes the pastry brittle. Handle with care, as it is less pliable than refrigerated pastry.Puff pastry alternative – Though not the same, you could use puff pastry instead of filo pastry. The bake time will be closer to 40 minutes.3. Kefalotyri Greek cheese – This is a hard Greek sheep or goat’s milk cheese, similar to parmesan but not as salty. Best substitutes in order of preference: Kefalograviera, pecorino, parmesan or romano cheese.4. Top layers – The cheese makes the top layers of filo pastry stick together so it doesn't fly everywhere when you cut it. A neat trick! However, we also skip the cheese on the final 2 layers so you do't see dark brown bits of cheese under the surface (ie. for visual reasons; it doesn't look as nice if you can see golden brown cheese under the top layers of filo).5. Make ahead: As long as you extract the excess liquid out of the spinach very well, it can be assembled early in the day then baked that evening which I have done successfully. I am not sure about leaving overnight. I don't recommend freezing a raw Spanakopita because I think the filling will become watery as it thaws which will make the base soggy. Will update it if I try it out!6. Storage and reheating – Spanakopita will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It's best reheated in the oven – around 15 - 20 mins at 180C until hot in the centre (check internal temperature with a metal skewer or paring knife touched to the lip, else a temperature probe). It won't be quite as crispy as fresh, but still delicious! Microwave if you must but the pastry will not be crisp. Spanakopita is also perfectly tasty at room temperature!7. Nutrition - For one serving, based on 4 servings total.