Spanakopita

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When I began this recipe, I realised that in my previous post about the Greek Islands I completely forgot to mention the mouth-watering Greek bakeries.

While I was in Santorini, I stopped in at a bakery near Perissa Beach. It was pastry overload! With so many delicious phyllo cheese pies and spanakopita, it was too late to worry about the waistline.

I was so intrigued by the pastry because what I buy from the supermarket looks nothing like this. The traditional spanakopita I was holding in my hot little hands was not made with machine rolled pastry but with a long ass rolling-pin.

So, I thought I’d give it a whirl myself and add some variations like potato, onion and herbs.

Ingredients

Dough
3 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

Filling
1 large potato (cut into 1cm cubes)
300g spinach
1 sliced red onion
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
200g feta
150g ricotta
2 eggs
handful of chopped parsley
tablespoon of chopped mint

 

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Method

  1. To make the dough, mix the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil together. Follow with the warm water and red wine vinegar. Mix together and knead for 5-10 mins until the dough is soft and smooth, then cover with a damp cloth for 30 mins.
  2. Now let’s make the filling. Boil the potato until cooked, drain and set aside till cool. Add a glug of oil to a pan and saute the onion and garlic till translucent. Place aside and cool.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°.
  4. Wash the spinach, place in a bowl and cover with hot water until the spinach has wilted. Drain the spinach, then add the chopped herbs and season well with salt pepper.
  5. In the same bowl as the spinach, add the crumbled feta, ricotta, eggs, cold potato, onion and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Dust a large surface with flour, then roll out one ball at a time. (The idea is to roll out the dough as thin as possible. To achieve this you will need to use an extra long rolling-pin but who has one of those? I just took the end off the broom, cleaned super well and used that. I have no Greek blood in me so this part didn’t come naturally. I had to cheat at the start by using a rolling-pin to form something that resembled a circle.)
  7. So when you think you have it has thin as it can be without tearing, spoon a line of the filling near the bottom. Make sure you leave enough room at the bottom to fold the first layer, then continuing to form a snake/coil/sausage shape. If there is any excess dough, just add it to the next ball.
  8. The next step is totally up to you. I decided to spiral the coil into a cake tins but you can place them on a tray if you don’t have anything big enough.
  9. Continue to repeat the following steps with the remaining dough and filling.
  10. Brush a very generous and I mean much more generous than usually amount of olive oil over the spanakopita.
  11. Place the tin in the oven for about an hour, or until the pastry is golden.
  12. Once golden, allow the spanakopita to cool down for 10 mins.