Thursday, October 03, 2013

Spanakopita (updated)

A while ago I took a Greek cooking class then I made baklava and posted it here. Since my baklava post I have taken a pizza cooking class -- the Greek class is still at the top of the list with the pizza class at a close second. (I'm taking an Egyptian cooking class at the end of the month!!!!!!!!)

We had an "Around the World" pot luck at work. I knew this was the opportunity to make one of my favorite dishes from the Greek cooking class I took. 


1 roll of fillo dough (defrosted)
2.5 cups clarified butter

2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and water all squeezed out
1 egg (not pictured)
12oz feta cheese
Salt/Pepper to liking

Metal strainer
Mixing bowl 
Pastry brush
Lasagna pan (13x9)
Paper towels


1. Thaw fillo dough per directions (I had it defrosting in the fridge 2 days before I needed it)

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. 

3. ButterMelt butter on low.  

4. FillingCombine all indigents in a large bowl, mix well. 

5. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface (only needed on sheet the size of 9 x13 baking dish. Open fillo dough and unroll it on the surface. Cover with wax paper (I used the paper wrapped around the fillo dough) and then a dampened towel to keep fillo from drying out

6. Butter your pan using a pastry brush, I used a 9 x 13 lasagna pan and it was perfect for the size of the fillo. Place a sheet of fillo on the bottom of the buttered pan, paint clarified butter over fillo sheet and repeat. If the fillo dough sheet is bigger than your pan, no worries, just place fillo in pan, paint with butter, fold over excess so fillo fits pan, paint butter on the folded over pieces, repeat for 10 layers of fillo. 

7. Spread the filling over the dough in an even layer. Repeat layering and buttering with the remaining fillo.

8. When all the fillo has been used, score into the shape you want. Be sure to cut right down through to the bottom of the pan. 

9. Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven. Make sure it has a nice crispy layer when you take it out :)

10. Enjoy!!!

Lessons learned:

Butterdidn't clarify my butter *GASP*. Only because I didn't know the benefits. It wasn't until after I made the spanakopita and learned of ghee, that I read on about clarified butter. After I researched clarified butter I had an epiphany. 

The reason you want to use clarified butter is because you can use it at a higher temperature without it burning...I didn't use clarified butter for my baklava burned...clarified butter IS A MUST. 

Now you saw my  spanakopita (above), you are probably confused, I said I didn't use clarified butter, it's not burned, how did I do it?? It's because when I was using my pastry brush to get the butter I was going straight for the clarified butter unintentionally. 

Clarify butter: You can either buy it already clarified (I was told Whole Foods) or make it. Clarify butter by cutting butter into smaller pieces and melting in a pan over gentle heat. Once the butter is melted spoon off the milky froth that rises to the top and discard. 

From my research I learned that clarified butter keeps in your fridge for 3 months and your freezer for 6. So my .02¢, make a bunch and save it for later. 

FillingI defrosted the spinach in the bag in hot water. I'm sure if I was more patient it would have worked, but after 30 minutes I needed to start baking, so I auto defrosted it. Put it in a mesh metal strainer and squeezed out the water with a paper towel. 

*Idea: I'm wondering if a better way, is to defrost it the day before in a strainer/ bowl to catch the dripping water (in the fridge). 

Scoring: I read somewhere that instead of cutting all the way through just stop before you hit the filling. 

Has anyone tried this before?

Update 02/14/2014

Hello all!

So I made this dish again for work with a few minor changes to the filling. I used 3 bags of spinach, 1 more container of feta cheese, and 2 more eggs.

Here is the updated filling.

3 cups frozen spinach, thawed and water all squeezed out
3 eggs (not pictured)
21oz feta cheese
Salt/Pepper to liking

The last time I made this for work I made it the night before and brought it in... and it was soggy... still good, just not crispy. So I thought I would prep it the night before and bake it in the morning. This turned out to be a SUCCESS!!!!!

So I followed the recipe above (except for the changes to the filling) and just baked it in the morning

I also plugged this recipe into My Fitness Pal (dun dun dun) and got the calories. If you cut it into 32 triangles then it's about 150 calories.

Nutritional Facts:
Calories 150
Carbs 9
Fat 13
Protein 5
Sodium 274
Sugar 1

I'm not a fan of the fat content so I’m wondering how I can change it to make it better.

Tips for next time:
Use 3 cups frozen spinach
Use 3 eggs
Use 12 oz feta cheese (vs. the 21)
Defrost the spinach in a strainer in the fridge, a minimum of, 2* days before
**maybe alternate each filo layer with butter and olive oil

*I defrosted the spinach in the bag, in the fridge, 1 day before I made the recipe and there were still frozen chunks (womp)
**I noted this tip the first time I made it and didn't follow it the second... shame on me...


No comments:

Post a Comment