This is a Greek spinach filled pastry which is actually so simple and easy to do. I love making it as you can change the shape – I have done triangles topped with sesame seeds, 1 large one, (which can be done in a cake tin), or individual parcels for a light lunch or a starter for dinner.
I love Spanakopita for the crispy flaky phyllo pastry. It is easy to get in the shops, reasonably priced and what ever pastry you don’t use can be frozen again. The trick with phyllo pastry is the more butter you brush on, the better. The butter gives the pastry a rich golden colour which makes it absolutely irresistible.
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
¼ tsp nutmeg, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
300g spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped
40g gruyere, grated
30g feta cheese, small cubes
20g cheddar, grated
3 tbsp butter, melted for brushing
Make a thick white sauce by melting the butter in a pot, add the flour.
Cook for a few minutes until slightly golden then add the milk little by little until it forms a smooth sauce. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover with cling film, touching the surface so as not to form a skin, and leave to cool.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion. Reduce heat and cook until onion is soft but has not started to colour.
Add the spinach, a sweat for 3 minutes until the spinach has wilted but is still green.
Combine the white sauce, onion and spinach and the cheeses.
Lay a sheet of phyllo pastry out. Brush with melted butter and fold in half.
Using a muffin tray line one of the holes/cavities/hollows/gaps, (one of those thingies) with the pastry, ensuring the pastry is lining the side and base of the tray. Repeat with the remaining holes in the tray. Spoon the spinach mixture into each until ¾ full. The pastry which is over hanging can be slightly pinched together so that the mixture does not ooze out when baking. Lightly brush the edges of the pastry with the remaining butter.
Bake in the oven at 170˚C for 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Serve as a light lunch with a Greek salad, pop one in your lunch box, or as a starter option for a dinner.
Makes: 6-8 individual Spanakopitas, or 1 large cake tin
Tip: this concept can be used with numerous different fillings – spicy tuna and tomato, salmon and cream cheese, spiced mince, or even roasted vegetable and pesto.