This popular spinach and filo savory pastry pie is called spanakopita in its native Greece. It is in the börek  family of filo pastries with a filling of spinach (or chard, sorrel, kale), feta and/or ricotta , onions, leek and/or scallions, egg and seasoning. The filling is wrapped or layered in filo pastry with olive oil and/or butter, either in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, or rolled into individual triangular servings. While the filo-dough recipe is most common, many recipes from the Greek islands call for a crust made of flour and water to form a crunchier, calzone-like exterior in place of the flaky filo dough. It is often eaten as an everyday dish, or slices may be taken with salad for a light lunch. Occasionally, it forms part of a celebration meal, either as a meze or the main course.
There is a vegan version of spanakopita, eaten during the Great Lent and other religious fasts. It is composed of spinach, onions or green onions, other green herbs like dill, parsley or celery, olive oil and a little wheat flour, but without eggs or dairy products.
 Börek / burek is a family of baked, filled pastries made of a thin, flaky dough known as filo or yufka, found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is often sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 454 g/ 1 lb fresh spinach leaves (no thick stalks)
• 85 g/ 1 small onion, minced
• 60 g/ ½ cup leek, minced
• 2 stems scallion, chopped finely
• 10 g/ 4 Tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
• 3 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 Tbsp dried
• 150 g/ 5 oz feta cheese, finely crumbled
• 60 g/ ¼ cup ricotta cheese
• 1 large egg, beaten
• ¼ ~ ½ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• 8 sheets filo (phyllo or fillo) dough – (usually box of 454 g/ 1lb, 40 cm x 30 cm (16”x12”) thawed according to the packaging
• 150 ml / 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
◊ In a large pot, with very small amount of boiling water, with a pinch of salt, blanch spinach for 1~2 minutes or until just wilted. Drain and shock under cold water. Then drain again, squeeze out the liquid of the spinach and chop it roughly.
◊ In a non-stick saucepan, on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and fry minced onion until edges start caramelizing. Add leek and stir for 30 seconds. Add scallion, parsley, and stir for 10 seconds. Add spinach and dill, salt (add ¼ tsp first and test taste and add more if needed), pepper, mix and sauté for 30~60 seconds. Turn off the heat. Add feta, ricotta, mix and set aside to cool down.
◊ Meanwhile, prepare a working space. Have a bowl with olive oil and a brush ready. Line a large baking sheet/pan with parchment paper and brush oil all over the parchment paper.
◊ To keep filo from drying, from this point, time is of the essence. Stack the filo, use a knife or a scissors to cut the filo sheets into 10cm x 30cm/ 4″x12″ strips. Cover them with a kitchen towel to cover from drying (when air is too dry, a slightly damp towel will keep filo from drying).
◊ When spinach mix has fairly cooled down, add beaten egg and mix well.
◊ Take out strip of filo, a sheet at a time. Take one out, brush with olive oil, place another on top. Brush 2/3 of top end of the second sheet. Place 2~3 Tbsp of spinach mixture (about size of a large walnut) on the bottom end, not brushed with oil. Fold one corner diagonally like ‘dog ear’ on top of spinach mix in triangle. Then fold straight up, then diagonally in triangle and then straight up. Repeat until all strip filo is wrapped (see tutorial slide). Place the spanakopita seam side on the bottom (so they don’t open while baking) on the baking sheet with a little space between them. Immediately brush the top with oil. Repeat the process.
Note: The pastry is golden in color when baked. The color often enhanced by butter and egg-yolk wash, instead of olive oil, which also give a sheen.
◊ Place rack on middle oven shelf and preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.
◊ Bake spanakopitas for 15 ~ 20 minutes, until golden brown.
◊ Serve straight from the oven or at room temperature.
~ Kalí órexi! ~
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