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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Whole grain Spanakopita(Greek Spinach Pie) from scratch
Sumptuous Savory Pies like these are staple in Greek cooking.Thanks to Ivy and her clearly explained recipe I was able to recreate her traditional whole grain Greek Spanakopita(Spinach Pie) from scratch.
A short cut for the crust is to use the store-bought phyllo.In the mood for a more wholesome pie,and prior experience of rolling tissue-thin strudel dough ,I was willing to take the tougher route.Rolling each sheet with passion for good food.Gladly the result was worth every muscle,a flaky and absolutely filling pie.Be sure the whole wheat flour is fine ground ,or the whole wheat pastry flour should also be good.
Not to mention the filling is generously green ,mild tasting spinach in combination of other sharp or bitter greens and sprinkle of chunky salty Feta cheese.
Recipe : Whole Wheat Spanakopita from scratch adapted from Ivy's Original recipe at Kopiaste... to Greek Hospitality
For the Pie Filling
2 pounds fresh spinach ,rinsed
2-3 cups of other mixed greens and herbs(I used Escarole,Kale,Parsley,Oregano and Fenugreek)
1 medium onion or 2 shallots ,finely chopped
1 medium Leek or 4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 big cloves garlic,peeled and chopped
2 Organic Eggs(vegan substitute : 1 cup tofu or 1/4 cup flax seed meal),lightly whipped(reserve a tablespoon for brushing on pie)
3/4 low-fat Greek Feta Cheese ,crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Crust
2 1/2 cups Fine ground Whole wheat flour
4 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil,divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup water(more or less)
Prepare the Dough
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix the water,2 teaspoon oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour and make a soft dough and knead for 2 minutes. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling
Heat oil on medium in a large pan, add the garlic,saute for 10-20 seconds until aromatic.Add the onions,leeks,salt,pepper and saute 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent.Now add in the greens and increase the heat on medium-high,and constantly stir and cook until greens are wilted and most water is soaked in 6-8 minutes.Turn off the heat and after completely cooled,mix in the eggs and feta cheese.
Roll the dough , assemble and bake
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and also on the dough.Divide the dough into smaller portions,depending on the size of sheets needed and the baking pan used.
One can certainly use a pasta machine to roll the dough.A more traditional method is rolling by hand.Use a longer rolling pin for better results.Shape each small portion into a ball and then flatten into a disc.Roll it very thin ,longer than the diameter of you baking pan.Brush about 1 teaspoon of oil over the rolled sheet of dough.Now roll the remaining portions of the dough and place each over the other ,be sure to brush with oil between them for a flaky crust.
For the base crust,I used 4 rolled sheets of dough and 3 for the top crust.
Preheat oven at 180 degrees C (350F).Brush the baking pan(8x8 inch) with oil and gently place the 4 rolled sheet over the pan and press slightly until it touches the base of the pan all around.Now place the prepared spinach mixture and spread evenly.Cover with 3 rolled sheets of dough.Bring together both the base and top sheets,fold and press to seal it completely.Use a sharp knife to score on top in triangular portions.
Brush with reserved whipped eggs all over the pie.Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
The traditional Greek pie is my entry for AWED : Greek event,hosted by Curry leaf.