the iconic traditional Greek Spinach Pie encased in layers upon layers of golden, buttery and flaky filo pastry. For the best Spanakopita of your life, use raw rather than cooked spinach, and bind the phyllo pastry layers using a little finely shredded Greek cheese so they stay together rather than flying everywhere when you cut it!
If I were to compile the Greatest Hits of dishes I’ve served to friends in recent years, this one shoots straight to the list. It made an appearance at a recent gathering, and to say it was the most popular dish of the night would be an understatement.
It was the first thing to go. There were rave reviews around the table. We were picking at the leftover shards of filo pastry long after the last piece had disappeared.
Author:Nagi Prep: 40minutes mins Cook: 25minutes mins Mains Greek.
For the best Spanakopita of your life, use raw rather than cooked spinach, and layer the phyllo pastry with finely shredded Greek cheese so it sticks together rather than flying everywhere when you cut it!
This pie is a perfect thickness with a good ratio of Spinach Feta filling to pastry. It will serve 4 to 5 people as a main dish.
▢300g/10oz English spinach leaves , trimmed from thick stems, thoroughly washed, dried, then chopped into 2.5cm/1″ pieces (Note 1)
▢1/2 tsp salt
▢175g/6oz Greek feta , crumbled
▢1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
▢2 green onions / scallions , finely sliced
▢2 tbsp mint , finely chopped
▢1 tbsp dill , finely chopped
▢1/2 tsp lemon zest
▢1/2 tbsp lemon juice
▢2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
▢1/2 tsp nutmeg , freshly grated
▢1/4 tsp black pepper
▢/4 tsp salt
▢/4 tsp cayenne pepper
▢16 sheets filo pastry (Note 2)
▢120g/ 8 tbsp butter , melted
▢60g / 2/3 cup Greek Kefalotyri cheese , finely grated (sub parmesan, Note 3)
▢1/2 tsp white sesame seeds (or more black)
▢1/2 tsp black sesame seeds (or more white)
Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F (200°C fan). Line a tray with baking paper / parchment paper.
Sweat spinach: Place spinach in a large colander or bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss through. Leave for 10 minutes to sweat.
Wring out water: Place a handful of spinach in a tea towel, then wring out tightly to remove excess water.
Filling: Place spinach in a bowl with remaining Filling ingredients. Mix well to combine.
Trim filo: Cut 16 sheets of filo pastry into 32 x 25cm / 13 x 10″ (pictured) or 26cm / 10.5″ square.
8 base layers: Layer 8 sheets of filo pastry on the tray, brushing each layer with melted butter.
Filling: Spread filling on filo pastry. Smooth surface and leave a 2.5cm / 1″ border.
8 Filo topping layers (Note 4): Cover spinach with a sheet of filo pastry. Brush with butter, sprinkle with Kefalotyri. Repeat for Sheets #2 to #5. Then cover with filo sheets #6 to #8, brushing with butter in between, but do NOT sprinkle with cheese (neater finish).Seal: Press edges down to seal. Crimp and trim if desired or just leave the edges flat on the tray.
Sesame seeds: Brush the top with butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake: Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown on the surface.
Serve! Serve immediately! It is at its absolute prime fresh out of the oven, though still good as long as its hot (~15 min or so). The base does lose crispiness as it cools.