Spanakopita with Handmade Phylo


Spanakopita.jpg

Hello my friends! I am back to Athens after my pilgrimage to my father’s village. We had a great time and I found the chance to get some rest and some sleep which I desperately needed. I hope you are all well and had a great weekend.

I think it is high time we talked about spanakopita in this post. I am sure all of you know and/or have tasted at least once this famous, traditional, Greek pie. Many variations exist and you can find many recipes in the net close, less close or completely different from the original version. In this post I will give you an original recipe many Greeks, including myself, follow to make the pie. But before I do that, I would like first to talk to you a little bit about this pie and all the Greek pies in general.

Spanakopita.jpg

Greece is a mountainous country with a few plains scattered here and there. There are specific areas in the mainland, where no plain exists and people live in the slopes or feet of rocky mountains. In the old days, these people were quite secluded from the big urban areas and in some cases they stayed that way for the whole winter. As you can understand the range of food they consumed was limited to what they were cultivating or breathing or to everything they could get from Mother Nature. Flour is a material that is kept for a long time and nature has so many wonderful herbs and greens to offer. Thus, those people started making handmade phylo and filling it with whatever they could find around them. Greek country is full of greens and herbs that have a very unique and delicious taste. As spinach is a very easy green to cultivate and does not require any special care, it was also included to their pie filling. My father said to me that after World War 2 when good food was a luxury for them, his mother left early in the morning to go and pick up some greens to make a pie to feed her children. These pies and the milk from the domestic goat kept them alive those very difficult years.

Spanakopita.jpg

But let’s go back to Spanakopita. To begin with, I will first have to clarify that the recipe below along with all the recipes that include cheese are called Spanakotiropita which means Spanakopita with cheese. Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, even here in Greece, when we say spanakopita, most of the times, we mean the one with the cheese as well. Only in Lent periods we clarify which one we want, because during those periods cheese is not allowed and thus all the people who fasten eat the Spanakopita and not the other one with the cheese. So, this is the story as far as the name is concerned.

Now, spanakopita (which is spanakotiropita actually) is a staple in the Greek kitchen and is a pie that most of the Greek households make at least once every month. Usually, these days spanakopita is made with store bought phylo, as most women work and do not have the time to make it from scratch. Even I, most of the times, use phylo from the supermarket. You cannot blame a working woman for trying to make her life just a little less complicated, can you?

Spanakopita.jpg

Well, this time I decided to shake a bit things up. I thought that in order to present this pie correctly and exactly as it is supposed to be, I should make my own phylo. And so I did. The recipe for the phylo dough comes from Dina Nikolaou a Greek chef working in Greece and Paris. The filling is how my grandmother, mother and consequently I, do it at our home.

This is a beautiful pie, with spinach and feta cheese to be the dominant ingredients. I know many of you hesitate to open your own phylo. I was the same, I always felt intimidated by dough. But if you have the time, do try this recipe. It is very easy and I am sure it will work for you just like it worked for me. I would like also to give a little tip to all of you who want to open your own phylo. In the bench on which you will open the phylo, spread some semolina or fine flour from corn, not wheat flour. You cannot believe how much easier the phylo opens in this way. Naturally, just like in any other case handmade has absolutely no comparison to store bought one.

  Spanakopita.jpg

Spanakopita with Handmade Phylo

 

Ingredients

For the Phylo Dough

500 gr. / 17.5 oz. all-purpose flour

3 tbsp olive oil

1 egg

3 tbsp milk

1 envelope dry yeast, about 9 gr. / 2tsp

2 tbsp ouzo or white vinegar

Salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp salt and no pepper)

100 ml/3 fl. Oz. of warm water plus 50 gr. /3 tbsp

Olive oil to brush the phyllo

Spanakopita.jpg  

For the Filling

700 gr. / 21 oz. spinach

5 scallions, chopped

2 onions, chopped

400 gr. /14 oz. feta, crumbled

1 egg

A bunch of dill, finely chopped

1 tbsp salt

1 handful of cracked wheat

Olive oil for sautéing the onions

  Spanakopita.jpg

Instructions

First we make the phylo dough

 

For the Phylo Dough

In a non-reactive bowl pour the warm water and the yeast and let it for 5 minutes to dissolve and foam.

In the mixer bowl put the flour after you have shifted it.

Make a hole and put the olive oil and the egg in it.

With the hook begin to slowly, slowly mix these ingredients.

Pour the milk, the vinegar and add salt and pepper.

Spanakopita.jpg

Continue to mix.

Add the yeast and continue to mix.

If you see that the dough is not coming together, add from the 3 tbsp of water, spoon by spoon until a soft dough is formed around the hook.

It may not need all 3 tbsp.

Let the mixer work it for about 10 minutes and then test the dough by pressing gently your finger against it.

If the hole by your finger disappears in 2 to 3 seconds then the dough is ready, if not then just mix it a little bit more.

Let the dough relax for an hour.

Spanakopita.jpg

 

In the meantime, let’s make the filling.

 

For the Filling

Wash the spinach and drain it.

In a skillet pour 3 tbsp of olive oil in medium heat.

Add the onions, scallions and dill and sauté them until they become soft.

Remove from fire, add the cracked wheat and the egg and mix well.

In a bowl throw the raw spinach after you have squeezed the excessive water and cut it roughly with your fingers.

In this pie we do not sauté the spinach; we add it raw in the pie.

Add the onion mixture, the feta cheese and the salt, mix and set aside.

  Spanakopita.jpg

Spanakopita.jpg

Let’s make the phylo now.

 

In the bench in which you will work with the dough, throw a little bit of fine flour from corn or semolina. These two ingredients make it easier to open the phylo.

Divide the dough in two balls one a little bit larger than the other.

Take the rolling pin and start working with the larger one, which will be placed on the bottom of the pan.

If you will use a rectangular pan work by moving the rolling pin back and forth. If you use a round pan move it towards all directions.

Take a rectangular pan about 25X35 cm / 10X14 in. or a round one about 32 cm / 12 in. and oil it with olive oil.

Spanakopita.jpg

Place the phylo sheet on the pan.

It should be larger than the pan and its sides must fall outside the pan.

Pour the filling in.

Then work with the other ball of dough.

Open it to phylo and place it on top of the filling.

Spanakopita.jpg

Cut the edges of the dough so as to just cover the filling from side to side.

Turn the sides of the bottomed phylo, which extend beyond the pan, in such a way as to cover the upper phyllo around its edges.

Brush the surface of the phyllo with olive oil.

Cut it in squared pieces.

Finally just spray some water on the top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C/ 350° F on the lowest part of your oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the two phylos become golden.

Spanakopita.jpg

5.0 from 4 reviews

Spanakopita with Handmade Phylo
 
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Pie
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Greek

Ingredients/ Συστατικά
For the Phylo Dough
  • 500 gr. / 17.5 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 envelope dry yeast, about 9 gr. / 2tsp
  • 2 tbsp ouzo or white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp salt and no pepper)
  • 100 ml/3 fl. Oz. of warm water plus 50 gr. /3 tbsp
  • Olive oil to brush the phylo
For the Filling
  • 700 gr. / 21 oz. spinach
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 400 gr. /14 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • A bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 handful of cracked wheat
  • Olive oil for sautéing the onions

Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
  1. First we make the phylo dough
For the Phylo Dough
  1. In a non-reactive bowl pour the warm water and the yeast and let it for 5 minutes to dissolve and foam.
  2. In the mixer bowl put the flour after you have shifted it.
  3. Make a hole and put the olive oil and the egg in it.
  4. With the hook begin to slowly, slowly mix these ingredients.
  5. Pour the milk, the vinegar and add salt and pepper.
  6. Continue to mix.
  7. Add the yeast and continue to mix.
  8. If you see that the dough is not coming together, add from the 3 tbsp of water, spoon by spoon until a soft dough is formed around the hook.
  9. It may not need all 3 tbsp.
  10. Let the mixer work it for about 10 minutes and then test the dough by pressing gently your finger against it.
  11. If the hole by your finger disappears in 2 to 3 seconds then the dough is ready, if not then just mix it a little bit more.
  12. Let the dough relax for an hour.
  13. In the meantime, let’s make the filling.
For the Filling
  1. Wash the spinach and drain it.
  2. In a skillet pour 3 tbsp of olive oil in medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, scallions and dill and sauté them until they become soft.
  4. Remove from fire, add the cracked wheat and the egg and mix well.
  5. In a bowl throw the raw spinach after you have squeezed the excessive water and cut it roughly with your fingers.
  6. In this pie we do not sauté the spinach; we add it raw in the pie.
  7. Add the onion mixture, the feta cheese and the salt, mix and set aside.
  8. Let’s make the phylo now.
  9. In the bench in which you will work with the dough, throw a little bit of fine flour from corn or semolina. These two ingredients make it easier to open the phylo.
  10. Divide the dough in two balls one a little bit larger than the other.
  11. Take the rolling pin and start working with the larger one, which will be placed on the bottom of the pan.
  12. If you will use a rectangular pan work by moving the rolling pin back and forth. If you use a round pan move it towards all directions.
  13. Take a rectangular pan about 25X35 cm / 10X14 in. or a round one about 32 cm / 12 in. and oil it with olive oil.
  14. Place the phyllo sheet on the pan.
  15. It should be larger than the pan and its sides must fall outside the pan.
  16. Pour the filling in.
  17. Then work with the other ball of dough.
  18. Open it to phyllo and place it on top of the filling.
  19. Cut the edges of the dough so as to just cover the filling from side to side.
  20. Turn the sides of the bottomed phyllo, which extend beyond the pan, in such a way as to cover the upper phyllo around its edges.
  21. Brush the surface of the phyllo with olive oil.
  22. Cut it in squared pieces.
  23. Finally just spray some water on the top.
  24. Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C/ 350° F on the lowest part of your oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the two phylos become golden.

Notes/ Σημειώσεις
Phylo recipe adapted from Dina Nikolaou

5.0 from 4 reviews

Σπανακόπιτα με Χειροποίητο Φύλλο
 
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Πίτα
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Ελληνική

Ingredients/ Συστατικά
Για το Φύλλο
  • 500 γρ. αλεύρι για όλες τις χρήσεις
  • 3 κ.σ. ελαιόλαδο
  • 1 αυγό
  • 3 κ.σ. γάλα
  • 1 φακελάκι μαγιά ξηρή
  • 2 κ.σ. ούζο ή άσπρο ξύδι
  • Αλάτι και πιπέρι (χρησιμοποίησα 1 κουταλάκι του γλυκού αλάτι)
  • 100 ml χλιαρό νερό συν 3 κ.σ.
  • Ελαιόλαδο για το άλειμμα του φύλλου
Για τη Γέμιση
  • 700 γρ. σπανάκι
  • 5 κρεμμυδάκια, ψιλοκομμένα
  • 2 κρεμμύδια, ψιλοκομμένα
  • 400 γρ. φέτα, θρυμματισμένη
  • 1 αυγό
  • Ένα μάτσο άνηθο ψιλοκοµµένο
  • 1 κ.σ. αλάτι
  • 1 χούφτα πλιγούρι
  • Ελαιόλαδο για να σωτάρετε τα κρεμμύδια

Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
  1. Πρώτα κάνουμε το φύλλο
Για το Φύλλο
  1. Σε ένα μεταλλικό μπολ ρίξτε το χλιαρό νερό και τη μαγιά και αφήστε για 5 λεπτά για να διαλυθεί και να αφρίσει.
  2. Στο μπολ του μίξερ βάλτε το αλεύρι, αφού το κοσκινίσετε.
  3. Κάντε μια τρύπα και ρίξτε το ελαιόλαδο και το αυγό σε αυτό.
  4. Με το γάντζο αρχίστε σιγά-σιγά, να αναμιγνύετε τα συστατικά.
  5. Ρίξτε το γάλα, το ξίδι και προσθέστε αλάτι και πιπέρι.
  6. Συνεχίστε να αναμειγνύετε.
  7. Ρίξτε μέσα τη μαγιά και συνεχίστε το χτύπημα.
  8. Αν δείτε ότι η ζύμη δεν μαζεύεται σαν μπάλα γύρω από το γάντζο, προσθέστε από τις 3 κουταλιές της σούπας νερό, κουτάλι κουτάλι μέχρι να σχηματιστεί μια μαλακή ζύμη γύρω από το γάντζο.
  9. Ίσως δεν χρειάζεται και τις 3 κουταλιές της σούπας.
  10. Αφήστε το μίξερ να δουλέψει για περίπου 10 λεπτά και στη συνέχεια, δοκιμάστε τη ζύμη, πιέζοντας απαλά το δάχτυλό σας πάνω της.
  11. Αν το βαθούλωμα από το δάχτυλό σας εξαφανίζεται σε 2 έως 3 δευτερόλεπτα, η ζύμη είναι έτοιμη, αν όχι τότε απλά ανακατέψτε λίγο περισσότερο.
  12. Αφήστε τη ζύμη να ξεκουραστεί για μια ώρα.
  13. Εν τω μεταξύ, κάνετε τη γέμιση.
Για τη Γέμιση
  1. Πλύντε το σπανάκι και σουρώστε το.
  2. Σε μια κατσαρόλα, ρίξτε 3 κουταλιές της σούπας ελαιόλαδο σε μέτρια φωτιά.
  3. Προσθέστε τα κρεμμύδια, κρεμμυδάκια και άνηθο και σωτάρετε τα μέχρι να μαλακώσουν.
  4. Αφαιρέστε από τη φωτιά, προσθέστε το πλιγούρι και το αυγό και ανακατέψτε καλά.
  5. Σε ένα μπολ ρίξτε το ωμό σπανάκι, αφού το έχετε στύψει καλά ώστε να φύγουν όλα τα υγρά του και κόψτε το με τα χέρια σας.
  6. Σε αυτήν την πίτα δεν σωτάρουμε το σπανάκι το προσθέσουμε ωμό.
  7. Προσθέστε τα κρεμμύδια, τη φέτα και το αλάτι και ανακατέψτε.
  8. Βάλτε το στην άκρη
  9. Ας κάνουμε τώρα το φύλλο.
  10. Στο πάγκο πάνω στον οποίο θα δουλέψετε τη ζύμη, ρίξτε λίγο λεπτό αλεύρι από καλαμπόκι ή σιμιγδάλι.
  11. Με αυτά τα δύο συστατικά είναι πιο εύκολο να ανοίξει το φύλλο.
  12. Χωρίστε τη ζύμη σε δύο μπάλες τη μία λίγο μεγαλύτερη από την άλλη.
  13. Πάρτε το πλάστη και αρχίστε να ανοίγετε φύλλο ξεκινώντας από τη μεγαλύτερη μπάλα που θα πάει από κάτω.
  14. Πάρτε ένα ορθογώνιο ταψί για 25 X 35 cm ή ένα στρογγυλό περίπου 32 cm και λαδώστε το.
  15. Τοποθετήστε το φύλλο στο ταψί.
  16. Το φύλλο θα πρέπει να είναι μεγαλύτερο από το ταψί και οι πλευρές του να πέφτουν έξω από το ταψί.
  17. Ρίξτε τη γέμιση.
  18. Στη συνέχεια ανοίξτε το δεύτερο φύλλο.
  19. Βάλτε το πάνω από τη γέμιση.
  20. Κόψτε τις άκρες της ζύμης ώστε να καλύπτουν μόνο τη γέμιση από πλευρά σε πλευρά.
  21. Γυρίστε τις πλευρές του κάτω φύλλου που εξέχουν έτσι ώστε να καλύψουν το πάνω φύλλο στις άκρες γύρω-γύρω.
  22. Αλείψτε την επιφάνεια με ελαιόλαδο.
  23. Κόψτε σε τετράγωνα κομμάτια.
  24. Τέλος ψεκάστε με λίγο νερό και βάλτε στο φούρνο.
  25. Ψήστε σε προθερμασμένο φούρνο στο 175° C στο χαμηλότερο μέρος του φούρνου σας για 50 έως 60 λεπτά ή μέχρι τα δύο φύλλα να πάρουν ένα χρυσαφί χρώμα.

Notes/ Σημειώσεις
Η συνταγή για το φύλλο είναι προσαρμογή από της Ντίνας Νικολάου

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  63. It’s clear that you have put a lot of effort into this post Katerina. A really helpful, step-by-step guide on how to make spanakoptia with handmade phylo. It looks truly delicious and must be full of flavour!

  64. 33
  65. Kathy says:

    This is just gorgeous and you make it look so easy! Thanks for the tutorial, Katerina. I must give this a try! Scrumptious looking!

  66. 34
  67. So comforting!!! Can I substitute feta with a milder cheese?

  68. 36
  69. I’m in awe of your homemade phylo dough! I’m so intimidated by the thought of making my own!

  70. 37
  71. Corina says:

    This looks just gorgeous Katrina. I love spanakopita but I’ve never had a go at making it!

  72. 38
  73. Julie says:

    Oh my, you are amazing! I’ve never made this with the packaged dough!
    Delicious! Hope you are having a great week.

  74. 39
  75. a beautiful pastry with the mark of homemade all over it! what a treat it must be to see it in front of one. `i would love to start making these again soon!

  76. 40
  77. Susan says:

    What a delicious welcome-home dish, Katerina! I am so impressed by your hand-made phyllo and enjoyed reading the story of your father and his family and the tradition behind this delicious dish.

  78. 41
  79. Louise says:

    Welcome back, Katerina!

    Thank you so much for sharing the history of one of my favorite Greek dishes. Although I have eaten many version, many times, I never knew the history behind it.

    The step by step directions are wonderful too. I would be to afraid to actually attempt making my own but I think when my daughter is feeling better, she may give it a try. She spent quite a while in Greece and loves the rustic food of the hills (that’s how she explains it:) I’ll save this for her. Hopefully, she will save some for me, lol…

    Thank you so much for sharing, Katerina…

  80. 42
  81. What a great, classic dish!

  82. 43
  83. Juliana says:

    Your spanikopita looks delicious Katerina, and homemade phylo? Amazing!
    Since I never made and don’t think I would dare to make phylo, I didn’t know that you need yeast…very interesting…
    Thanks for this delicious classic and hope you are enjoying your week my dear 😀

  84. 44
  85. mjskit says:

    Another wonderful post! Loved the history of how this dish came about and how people had to forage for their food. Thanks for all of the interesting information! I’m a huge fan of spanakopita or the other one :), but have always been intimidated by the dough so have never made it at home. I love your methods and thank you for such a great tutorial! I think I can do this now. BTW – welcome home!

  86. 45
  87. Beth says:

    Your spanakopita looks absolutely gorgeous and mouth-watering. I’m so impressed that you made your own phyllo. And as always, I loved the history you shared with us.

  88. 46
  89. Wow! Very impressive that you made your own phylo, lovely pie recipe from scratch. Looks awesome!

  90. 47
  91. Joanne says:

    You have got me seriously craving spanikopita after this! And I am amazed that you made your own phyllo!

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  93. grace says:

    you made your own phyllo?! i’m in awe of you, katerina! and what a fantastic use for it–spanakopita is so wonderful. :)

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  95. Nadji says:

    J’en ai déjà goûté mais je n’en ai jamais fait.
    Je note ta recette.
    A bientôt

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  97. Asmita says:

    Hi Katerina,
    I am beyond impressed. To make the dough at home too is amazing! This is one of my favorite dishes and have yet to try it out at home. Amazing job done!

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  100. Debra says:

    Hope you had a great holiday visiting your father’s village. Loved all the information (and great recipe) here.

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  102. Liz says:

    I am truly impressed with your homemade phylo! And I will definitely use your authentic spanakopita recipe next time I make it…it looks marvelous!!!

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  104. rosita says:

    Realización perfecta un lujo de relleno,saludos y abrazos.

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  106. Sissi says:

    Katerina, thank you so much for sharing one more Greek classic recipe! You impress me with your filo pastry… It looks so perfect! I love the way you introduce traditional dishes. Thus, everything takes instantly more value (though your spanakopita talks for itself and looks marvellous even without any comment! I wish I could buy this Greek cheese here…).

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  108. Balvinder says:

    I hope you had good time, didn’t know you live in historical city of Europe. This really is the best spanakopita I have ever seen, I am not kidding. I love how much greens you have added in this dish. so healthy and delicious!

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  111. Kate says:

    My favorite post ever. I could live off of spanakopita.

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  113. What a masterpiece! Thanks for visiting my site. Have a great week! :)

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  115. this is just what we needed…we wanted an authentic Greek spinach pie and a perfect step wise instruction for our favorite pastry…your recipe looks so easy with the steps…makes us want to try this out now…
    scrumptious pies :-)

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  117. Wow Katerina, I am so impressed that you made your on phylo. Your spanakopita is gorgeous, I could eat the whole pan.

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  119. Iglika says:

    My favorite breakfast in Greece…seems like a dream…Greetings, Kati!

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  121. Ola says:

    I always buy it for take away breakfast whenever I am in Greece

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  123. You even made the filo pastry from scratch…wow…I guess I will have to get the ready made one, but I am all for the spinach filling!

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  125. I first came across Spanakopita while watching an Indian food channel and the dish was cooked and presented by the ambassador of Greece to India.

    It is really wonderful that you made the phylo from scratch in your kitchen. I love it when food is made from scratch in the kitchen and then fed to the family. There is something so gratifying about it.

    Would love to try your recipe some day soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  127. Jojo says:

    While This is best eaten when it comes out of the oven, I’m guessing it freezes well. This would make good breakfast food.

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  129. Ξανθή says:

    Στη σπανακόπιτα δε λέω ποτέ όχι είμαι ικανή να φάω ολόκληρο ταψί μόνη μου!!Καλώς ήρθατε!!

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