This is one of the most famous Greek pies. It is very easy to make and unbelievably good to eat. Everybody seems to love it and as an extra bonus it is healthy. Even children that turn their nose up when they see spinach on their plates, enjoy a piece of this divine pie.
NOTE: Aluminum baking pans are best for baking pies, because they make the bottom filo pastry nice and crisp. If you use a stainless steel or glass fire proof dish, the filo doesn’t crisp up. To get a better result you will have to use only the bottom elements when the top of the pie has browned and perhaps you should lower the rack in the oven to help things along. I baked my spinach pie in a glass dish 33 x 23cm (9 ½” x 13”) so that you could see the result. If you use a larger baking pan, the pie will be thinner, but the taste will be exactly the same.
Ingredients: 1 ½ kilo spinach A bunch parsley ½ bunch dill (more if you like it) 6 green onions cleaned and chopped up 1 medium onion ½ cup milk 400 gr. feta cheese (crumbled) 2 eggs 1/3 cup olive oil 1 packet greek filo pastry Oil for the filo pastry sheets Pepper, salt
For this recipe you can use frozen spinach, but the taste of the fresh spinach is unsurpassed.
If you opt for fresh spinach, you must clean it by cutting off the roots and the tough stems. Place the leaves in a large plastic basin and wash it meticulously. Fill the basin with water and sort of swirl the spinach around. Take the greens out and put them in another basin and pour out the water. You will see the sand and soil at the bottom of the basin. You repeat this procedure a few times, until the water in the basin is clean. Perhaps you can get pre-washed spinach so you don’t waste time trimming and washing it.
Wash and chop the parsley, the dill and the green onions. Peel and chop the onion. Place the 1/3 cup oil in a pan and add the onion and the green onions to sauté lightly for about 6 – 7 minutes. Then you add the spinach. If you use fresh spinach, you add a few handfuls at a time to give it time to wilt so that you can add more spinach. Mix it gently every time, and you keep on adding until it is finished.
If you use frozen spinach, you simply add it and let it defrost in the pot at a low temperature, so as not to burn the onion.
Either way, you sauté the spinach for a while, stirring now and then, until all the water has evaporated. Take the pan off the fire and add the milk, the crumbled feta cheese, the parsley, the dill, a little pepper and stir. Break the eggs and beat them lightly. Keep a couple of spoonfuls of the eggs for later use. Pour the rest in the pot, stirring continuously. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings. The cheese is quite salty and you may not need to add any salt.
Now take your pan and lightly brush it with oil. Start placing the filo pastry sheets so that you cover the bottom and the sides lightly oiling each sheet after you have placed it in the baking pan. You use about half the sheets in the packet or a few more if your pan is bigger. Now pour the filling inside your prepared pan and level it with the back of a spoon. Fold the filo sheets over the filling. Start placing the rest of the filo pastry sheets oiling each one lightly, covering the filling. Tuck the sheets inside the pan. Beat the egg you kept with 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls of water or milk, and brush the top of the pie. With a sharp knife, careful cut into portions, usually squares, but only the top filo pastry sheets. This will make it easier for you to cut the pie in nice pieces after it is baked.
Bake the pie in pre-heated oven at 170oC (350F) for 40 – 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.