Back in my pre-stay-at-home mom days, I worked as a teacher and math content coach at an elementary school. Along with my job as the school’s math content coach came the role of test coordinator for the school’s state-mandated annual testing. The task of coordinating testing for the school involved a tedious and meticulous process of coding, counting, training, timing, documenting, and maintaining careful test security for hundreds of test booklets and test content. It was an exhausting time of year, to say the least. My saving graces during that time were a co-testing coordinator, extra large cups of coffee, and the little pizza shop across the street from the school.
That little pizza shop was always ready with hot slices of pizza, a really great chef’s salad, or my favorite; the Greek spinach pie. I can’t count how many spinach pies, called Spanakopita, I ordered from that little pizza shop, most especially during testing season. Delicate layers of buttery, flakey phyllo dough, filled with a melty spinach and feta combination; my mind will forever associate spinach pie with comfort food.
Spanakopita can be prepared a couple of different ways. It can be layered in a baking dish to create a sliceable “pie” suitable as a side dish with dinner or it can prepared as individual hors d’oeuvres which would be perfect for a New Year’s Eve event or any hors d’oeuvres gathering. However you serve it, the same delicious taste and buttery, flakey layers will scream pure comfort!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
- 1 (10-ounce) package Frozen Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Fillo/Phyllo Dough, defrosted
- 1 stick Butter, melted
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Lower the heat and add the spinach, feta cheese, and parmesan cheese. Stir until the feta has mostly melted and the ingredients are well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To prepare triangular spanakopita hors d’oeuvres, cut the sheets of phyllo into strips, approximately 2 inches wide by 7 inches long. Working with a few strips at a time, brush each strip with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of the spinach filling towards the center of one end. Fold the corner of the filled end up into a triangle. Continue folding the dough up and over to create a triangular packet. If necessary, seal the remaining edge of dough with a little extra melted butter. Place the prepared triangles on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes in a 350 degrees oven, until golden brown. *See my folding guide below.
To prepare the spanakopita in a baking dish, brush the inside of a 13×9 inch baking dish with melted butter. Cut your phyllo dough to fit the baking dish. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the baking dish. Brush it with melted butter. Place another sheet of phyllo on top. Continue layering the melted butter and phyllo until you have 6-7 layers of phyllo. Then, spread half of the spinach filling on top. Layer another 2-3 sheets of phyllo with melted butter between each sheet. Spread the remaining spinach filling on top. Complete the pie by layering another 6-7 sheets of phyllo dough with melted butter brushed between each sheet. Brush the top of the pie with melted butter. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before slicing into squares.
**As you work with the phyllo dough, keep the excess dough covered by a piece of plastic wrap with a damp towel on top. This will prevent the dough from drying out as you work. Exposed dough will dry out very quickly and become difficult to work with.
Spanakopita Folding Guide
When I prepared the spanakopita, I didn’t have the forethought to take step by step pictures for a folding photo guide. It wasn’t until I sat down to write up this recipe that I realized a photo guide would have been really helpful. Since my spinach filling and phyllo dough are long gone, I’ve made up a little photo guide using a piece of tortilla and raspberry jam which, as it turns out, make a pretty tasty snack. The following pictures should help give you an idea of how to fold the spanakopita.