A Greek speciality
A couple of weeks ago we had quick supper at a Greek Restaurant in Stellenbosch. We love Greek food and I am particularly fond of Spanokopita, so I was looking forward to the lovely light phyllo pastry and traditional spinach filling. I was so disappointed by the tough pastry and bland filling I had to do something to satisfy my craving, so a few days ago I made my own!
Spanokopita and Tiropita
There are two traditional phyllo pastries most commonly found in Greek restaurants or delis, Spanokopita containing mainly spinach and Tiropita, which has cheese and egg filling. They are either shaped into triangles, rectangular or cigars, but sometimes as a large pie. Way back in my more energetic days, I used to make dozens of small triangles and store them in the freezer, ready to bake as a starter or a cocktail snack. The same recipe can be used for a large pie.
The basic Spanokopita recipe calls for spring onions or white onion, spinach or Swiss chard, Feta or a mix of Feta and ricotta cheese. Tiropita usually has a mix of cheeses: ricotta, Feta and a stronger cheese such as cheddar, seasoning and bound together with egg.
A perfect meat-free meal
I used both the spinach and a cheese filling in the same pie, and added mushrooms and garlic resulting in a perfect mid-week meat free meal.
If you can get English Spinach. The flavour is good and the leaves are more tender. If you use the coarser leaved Swiss Chard, you need to remove the spine from the leaf. I always prepare the spinach in the microwave, it retains the green colour and the flavour.
Do not fear phyllo pastry……
Phyllo pastry is found in the frozen foods section of most supermarkets, there are a few rules here for handling it correctly. I placed a note in the HOW TO section of my blog, with a few rules for handling this speciality. Click here to view it!