Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spinach, Herb, Ricotta and Feta Filo Pastry Pie


I am sure this blog will eventually contain myriad versions of spinach and cheese put together in pie form.  They'll have different names, but similar ingredients. They'll be deliciously the same but different. Which ever way you cut it,  Spinach and Feta Pie, Spanikopita, Musznik, Tepsi Boreji, are all worth an entry of their own.

Spinach, Herb, Ricotta and Feta Filo Pastry Pie
from Karen Martini's Where the Heart Is

100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 bunch spinach, about 800 grams
4 sprigs of mint, leaves only, chopped
2 sprigs oregano, leaves only, chopped
4 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
2 eggs
250g ricotta
120g fetta
salt and pepper
50g butter
15 sheets filo pastry (I am lucky enough to have access to Yufka - handmade filo - but standard filo will give you a great result also)
2 teaspoons ground fennel

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Wash the spinach well and roughly chop it, retaining the stems.

Place 50 ml olive oil in a wide heavy-based pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes on a medium heat, then add the capers and half the spinach. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted, then tip everything into a colander to drain. Press out as much liquid as you can, using a spoon, or your hands.

Pour the rest of the oil into the pan. Add the herbs and the rest of the spinach. Again, cook it over a medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted, then tip the mixture into a colander to drain, pressing out as much liquid as you can.

Turn all the spinach mixture onto a board and chop it quite finely. Return to a bowl, add the eggs, ricotta and crumbled fetta and stir them in well. Adjust seasoning.

Melt the butter, then use some of it to grease a 35cm round tin. Lay a filo sheet on the bench. Brush it with oil, and repeat 4 times, so you have 5 sheets of layered buttered pastry. Place a third of the spinach mix along the length of the pastry, then roll it into a sausage shape. Gently form the sausage into a spiral shape and lay it in the centre of the tin.

Repeat the process of layering pastry with the second and third portion of spinach mixture, adding these sausage shapes to continue the spiral outwards and fill the tin. Brush the top of the pastry with butter and sprinkle with the ground fennel and a little pepper.

Bake until golden brown for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool a little and remove from tin to serve, cutting or pulling apart, whatever suits you.

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