Spanakopita with Puff Pastry
Whenever there is a party or special event, it is automatically expected that mum will bring her famous Spanakopita. It is the kind of food that takes a while to prepare and bake and then is eaten before the platter even hits the table. I don’t think I have ever tasted a better version than her pie, even after traveling through Greece. Majority of the work goes into the pastry. She uses a thin, one metre long stick (what she calls a rolling pin) and spends time opening the dough into many thin layers. Her little tired arms and shoulders are exhausted by the end of it but I don’t think my mother has ever bought store bought pastry to make her Spanakopita Pie. She is part of a generation of women that just have to make everything from scratch or it just isn’t good enough. A generation I admire. However, to a mum who has limited time AND who needs to run a gluten free household (which lets face it, is much harder)….. store bought pastry is a lifesaver. I am not ashamed to admit it that 80% of the time I buy my gluten free pastry rather than make it myself because it saves me time. Even though I do feel guilty not putting in the extra effort, my kids still love that the delicious spinach, herb and cheese smell that swirls through our house when I bake our gf spanakopita. It really does smell phenomenal and so I hope you give this recipe a try.
For my vegan friends, you can use soy or dairy free cheese to accomodate a vegan diet and for my friends who are not celiac, you can use any puff pastry with this recipe which works just as well. Enjoy x
300g silverbeet spinach, washed, finely chopped, stalks removed
8 green onions finely chopped
1 cup parsley finely chopped
1/2 cup dill and mint finely chopped
200g feta crumbled
1 cup grated tasty cheese
2 eggs whisked
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
a good amount of freshly ground pepper
Gluten Free Pastry Sheets
Combine all ingredients using your hand and lightly squeeze the spinach allowing the feta to combine and break down further. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C fan forced.
Butter / Oil approx a 20x30cm baking tray. Allow pastry to defrost on counter and when ready place each sheet between two pieces of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, very lightly roll out to desired thickness. Do not press too hard.
Place pastry into baking tray allowing the sheets to curve up the sides of the tray at least 7-8cm on all 4 sides. Connect each sheet by overlapping the sides. Use a small amount of water and a soft brush to secure the pastry sheets together. Press down gently.
Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry. Keep the spinach even and flat. Do not pile.
On your bench top, overlap the sides of remaining pastry sheets using water and a brush to make one large sheet big enough to sit on top of the spinach mixture (you can place it between sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin even out the overlap). Cut to approximate size of your baking tray and place on top of the spinach mixture. Using the water again, brush along the sides of the top pastry sheet and then fold inwards the pastry that is sitting around the sides of the tray.
Using a fork, pierce the pie 8-10 times to allow heat to escape during cooking.
Pour the 2 tbs olive oil over the pie and using a soft brush spread over including the sides that are up again the baking tray. This will make the pie golden and crisp.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 50 min- 1 hour, checking half way through and turning tray around to evenly bake.
Gently shake the baking tray and the spanakopita will slide easily when cooked. Allow to cool in tray for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serve along side any dish or each on its own. It is delicious!