Sunday, February 16, 2014


Traditional Greek spinach pie, spanakopita, is everybody's favorite. Well, almost everybody's... I used goat cheese feta, which made filling creamier than usually. Win-win combo of crispy filo dough and rich and creamy filling has stolen my heart :)

Blog's Category: DK Challenges, International, Vegetarian


The recipe idea has come from far, Australia, where DK cook Audax offered it to us as February's challenge. I was sold to the recipe as soon as I have learnt that recipe uses fresh spinach (not precooked, and not frozen!) and does not require spinach to be cooked first. Easy to follow, it's the best recipe of a spinach pie known to me for today.

My own twist on a recipe is using goat feta cheese instead of regular cow-milk feta. The difference is creamier than usual filling and slight tanginess that goat cheese imprints on a taste.

What is it?

- This is traditional Greek spinach pie where spinach-based filling is incased in a filo dough and baked in an oven. Filling consists of fresh chopped spinach, three sorts of onion, leek and dill which mixed very well until become moist, almost pasty. Addition of salt, pepper, feta and nutmeg makes this filling well balanced and very flavorful.

Taste Description

It's very delicious, what else to say? Smooth, with a strong and complex flavors, filling  contrasts with a crispy, butter flavored dough. It has just right amount of a heat from a black pepper.  Overall flavors are married happily influencing each other in the best possible way. I hesitated to add such a generous amount of nutmeg that recipe called for but, no regrets - I was surprised how muted (and just right!) its flavor emerged in this recipe.

How to Serve

After taking it from an oven, let it cool down half way and enjoy its warm and indulging goodness. Keep in a fridge for a several days - just warm it up a little bit in a microwave. It makes a great addition to your lunch or a nice option for a savory breakfast.

Spinach Pie with Goat Feta


For about 12 servings:
  • about 20 filo dough sheets (half a pack)
  • 2 large bags of fresh baby spinach (a lot!), roughly chopped
  • 1 leek (only white and pale part of), finely choped
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3-5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 green onion plants, including white parts, chopped
  • 1 bunch if fresh dill, chopped
  • 4" x 4" x 2" piece of goat feta cheese (or regular cow-milk feta)
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 c plain bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 nutmeg nut (whole), freshly grated
  • 3 tbs olive oil (preferably Extra Virgin)
  • 1 stick of butter
- In a large bowl, using your hands, mix (massage) spinach, leek, all onions, dill, feta (breaking it with fingers), nutmeg, salt, garlic and olive oil for about 5 minutes until mixture becomes somewhat pasty. It may even release some noticeable amount of water (my did not though).
- Add to the mix: bread crumbs, pepper, and eggs incorporating ingredients into the filling. Mix thoroughly. Set the filling aside.
- Prepare baking dish (about 15" x 12"). Place butter stick in a small bowl and microwave it for about 10-15 seconds until half-melted. Use not melted part of butter to grease a baking dish. Then start laying filo dough into the dish - place sheets of filo dough overlapping each other and having edges hanging around boards (refer to the pictures below). Do not forget to sprinkle a little bit melted butter between filo layers. Thus, lay about 16 sheets on a bottom and sides and leave about 4 sheets for a top. While working with filo dough, keep remaining sheets of filo covered with dry paper towel covered with a wet piece of cloth to prevent it from drying out.
- Pile filling into the dish with filo dough, fold hanging parts of dough up to cover the filling, sprinkling with melted butter between the layers. Place remaining 4 sheets of dough on top, again, sprinkling with melted butter. Tuck sides neatly around the pie, sprinkle melted butter on top.
- Using thin-bladed, long, sharp knife, cut pie into 12 pieces. Bake at 375F for about 60-70 minutes or until crust has a beautiful, deep-gold color.


From the beginning, volume of a filling will reduce in about tri-fold...

Don't panic if filo dough breaks, just keep going, layering whatever pieces you've got.

Even out the surface of filling and start folding dough up..

Carefully butter up the blade of your knife if you have trouble cutting the pie.

Keeping empty metal baking sheets inside my oven, while baking, is my little dirty (indeed) secret. It allows to distribute the heat inside my oven more even... I remember my mom was using bricks, laid on a bottom of an oven for the same purpose. I think pizza stone would work very well also ;). I think that bricks is a great idea but am hesitating using it - who knows what kind of toxic stuff nowadays they may expel while heated up...

I was really pleased with a color of a crust...

Level of moisture of a filling is just right!

Isn't it appetizing? Do it ;)
Blog-checking lines: The February Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Audax of Audax Artifex. The challenge brought us to Greece with a delicious, flaky spanakopita - a spinach pie in a phyllo pastry shell.



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