Creating the best spanakopita requires attention to detail and using high-quality ingredients. Spanakopita is a traditional Greek dish made with layers of flaky phyllo pastry and a flavorful spinach and feta filling. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make a delicious spanakopita:
For the Filling:
- 2 pounds (about 900g) fresh spinach, washed and chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for sautéing
For the Phyllo Layers:
- 1 package of phyllo pastry sheets (thawed if frozen)
- 1 cup melted butter or olive oil for brushing
- Prepare the Filling:
- In a large pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Once cooled, squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the wilted spinach, crumbled feta cheese, ricotta cheese, chopped dill, chopped parsley, chopped green onions, minced garlic, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create a cohesive filling mixture.
- Prep the Phyllo Pastry:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Unroll the phyllo pastry sheets and cover them with a damp cloth to prevent drying out.
- Brush a baking dish with melted butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Place one sheet of phyllo pastry in the baking dish, allowing the edges to hang over the sides. Brush the sheet with melted butter or olive oil.
- Repeat the process, layering about 6-8 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter or oil.
- Add the Filling:
- Spread half of the spinach and cheese filling evenly over the phyllo layers.
- Continue Layering:
- Add another 6-8 layers of phyllo pastry, brushing each layer with butter or oil.
- Add the Remaining Filling:
- Spread the remaining filling over the phyllo layers.
Top Layer and Finish:
- Layer another 6-8 sheets of phyllo pastry on top, brushing each sheet with butter or oil. Make sure to tuck in the edges.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully score the top layer of phyllo into squares or diamonds. This will make it easier to cut the spanakopita after baking.
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the spanakopita is golden brown and crisp.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before cutting along the scored lines.
- Serve the spanakopita warm as an appetizer or a main dish.
- Phyllo Handling: Phyllo pastry dries out quickly, so keep it covered with a damp cloth while working with it.
- Butter or Oil: You can use either melted butter or olive oil for brushing the phyllo layers. Butter adds flavor, while olive oil provides a lighter option.
- Customization: Feel free to add other ingredients like chopped sautéed onions or pine nuts for added flavor and texture.
- Serving: Spanakopita can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even a light main course. It’s often enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Following these steps and tips should help you create a delicious and impressive spanakopita that’s sure to impress your family and friends!