Delicious Greek Spinach Pie Made with Fresh Phyllo Dough

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The traditional filling of spinach pie (σπανακόπιτα) is a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, onion or scallion and eggs. The ingredients are mixed together then wrapped in phyllo pastry sheets that have been brushed with butter before being baked to golden brown perfection!

History

In the Ottoman Empire, phyllo pastry was used to wrap various savory fillings. The Turkish word “börek” is etymologically derived from the Greek πύρινος (pyrinos), meaning “of or relating to cheese”. Following this tradition in Greece, dishes such as spanakopita and tiropita can be made with layers of butter-coated filo dough containing a mixture of cheeses and meats or spinach; these are then baked until they form crisp golden brown crusts enclosing deliciously moist cheesy mixtures that can be served hot or cold on their own or as appetizers at meze tables.

The Greeks have been preparing this savory pie for many centuries. It is said that the recipe has an ancient root and probably has been influenced by the Ottoman cuisine, since spinach was a very popular ingredient in Turkish cooking when it arrived in Greece. The authentic Greek spanakopita recipe requires phyllo pastry dough to be layered with spinach, feta and herbs and spices.

What is a spinach pie?

The origin of the word spanakopita is simple and rather revealing. The spinach pies are called this because they resemble little envelopes (pites) that contain something – in this case, cheese and eggs or meat – wrapped within a dough envelope.

Spinach Pie ready for baking
This spinach pie is ready for baking!

Spanakopita can be eaten hot or cold on its own as an appetizer or in large squares as a main course. The traditional way to serve spanakopita is with a glass of water or white wine, and accompanied by plain yogurt. In this recipe we make our own phyllo dough far superior to what is in the supermarket.

The phyllo dough

We start with a simple dough that can be made in advance and kept, sealed airtight in the refrigerator for up to three days. The pastry-making technique is one we all know – slicing thin strips of butter into the flour before using just enough water to bind it together into a firm dough.

The filling is also quite easy to make. You just need to chop the onions and saute them in butter for a few minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper – cook until soft then add feta cheese, eggs or meat– whatever you prefer. We use a mix of feta, cottage and ricotta cheese to make the filling extra creamy.

The following recipe and how-to video will show you the steps to make a delicious Greek spinach pie with phyllo dough, straight from our kitchen! If you are not interested in a traditional spinach pie try it in a Big Fat Greek Dumpling!

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Greek Spinach Pie in Fresh Phyllo Dough

Classic Greek Traditional Appetizer or Entrée.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 days
Total Time 20 days 40 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

Spinach Pie Filling

  • 6 bunches Fresh Spinach Washed and Rough Chopped
  • 1 lb(s) Cottage Cheese
  • 1 lb(s) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 lb(s) Feta Cheese Crumbled
  • 1 bunch Dill Thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Parsley Thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Scallions Thinly sliced
  • 2 stalk(s) Leeks Washed well and Thinly sliced
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 4 tbsp(s) Olive oil
  • To Taste Salt & Pepper

Spinach Pie Fresh Filo (See How To Recipe)

  • 1 whole Egg
  • 3 cup(s) Flour All Purpose
  • ¾ cup(s) Water
  • 1 stick Butter Cubed and Room Temperature
  • 1 tbsp(s) Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp(s) Sugar Granulated

Instructions

  • Gather the ingredients for both recipes.
    Spinach Pie Filling for Dumplings

Spinach Pie Filling Greek Style

  • Clean all the greens and begin to thinly slice.
    Greens for spinach pie
  • Begin by adding leeks and onions and sauté until translucent.
    spinach pie filling
  • Add parsley, dill, scallions, salt and pepper and sauté.
    add Aromatics
  • Once step 3 & 4 are complete with a translucent look, add spinach and continue to wilt spinach.
    add spinach
  • After about 10 minutes the mixture should be cooked. Check by pushing mixture to one side and make sure there is no liquid.
    spinach filling 8
  • Add to mixing bowl and make a hole in the center, let it cool for 15 minutes in refrigerator.
    spinach cooling in bowl
  • Add the cottage cheese, feta, ricotta and eggs.
    spinach filling 10
  • Begin to stir well incorporating all ingredients well and set aside.
    mixing all ingridents
  • Remove the dough from refrigerator and cut into 1 inch strips.
    cutting dough
  • Begin to roll out into at least 9 inch length, cut off uneven ends. Egg wash whole strip and add your spinach mixture.
    filling dough
  • Begin to roll bottom right point of dough to top left folding it over. Continue till you reach top of dough.
    spinach filling 13
  • Once done where you can not fold over any more, cut off the excess dough and place onto cooking mat.
    cut off excess
  • Once you complete enough to fill a tray, egg wash the top of spinach pies and place in a pre- heated oven 350° degrees for 10-15 minutes.
    Spinach Pie ready for baking
  • Pull from the oven when they are golden brown. You can let them cool or serve hot.
    pull when golden brown

Video

Notes

This traditional spinach pie can be found throughout  Greece. Different towns or islands usually vary on which cheese they use but typically the are mostly all the same. Some varieties of cheeses used are goats feta, mizithra, etc. A Greek specialty store can also suggest based on your tastes. These pies can be found in a few Middle Eastern cuisines as well. Feel free to message me if you need help on alternating this recipe to fit your needs.
Author: Nikolaos Saragias
Calories: 330kcal
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Spanakopita, Spinach Pies

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal

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