Friday, August 10, 2012
Today's blog post is about an appetizer that my family and I love. A decadent spinach, feta, and cream cheese filled "pie" with layers of crispy, buttery phyllo dough crust. Do I have you interested yet?
So I recently made this savory pastry for a friend's party. My family was adamant that not only would they eat it at the gathering, but they needed me to make an extra tray just for us. And yes, the extra tray too was gone by the next day. In our defense, it is just too easy to swing by the kitchen and grab a pastry to munch on in between daily activities. :-)
I've made another spinach appetizer before: spinach cheese swirls. This super easy item follows the same recipe as the swirls for the filling and has even easier steps for the assembly. You can find the ingredients and instructions below.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1lb fresh baby spinach
8 oz feta cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
crushed red pepper as desired
1 cup melted butter or olive oil
1 box phyllo dough
1/4 cup milk
large baking sheet
Fry onions and garlic in heated oil until the onions become translucent. Mix in the baby spinach, cheeses, and crushed red pepper. Stir on high heat until all of the liquid from the spinach evaporates and the mixture becomes a thick paste. There is no need to add in salt because the cheeses already have a large amount of their own sodium but you can add any other spices to suit your taste. Once the mixture has turned into a chunky paste, set it aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare your pan, brush, and butter. Beat the milk and egg together until combined. Set aside.
Spread butter on the pan, along the sides and bottom. Layer the pan with a single phyllo dough sheet and lightly coat it with butter. Repeat this with the next 13 sheets.
Spread a thick layer of the spinach and cheese mixture on the dough. Cover it with another layer of dough. Brush a coat of butter on the dough sheet and repeat until you are done with the dough.
Spread a coating of the egg mixture over the top sheet making sure to get into the corners. Using a pizza cutter, cut diagonal lines in the dough. You should end up with the diamond pieces shown above. Pour the remaining egg mixture in the gaps between each slice. Half of the pan above has been done to show you how this step looks. Soak up any puddles of the mixture off the top of the spanakopita or they will brown quicker than the rest of the pieces.
Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the pieces are a light golden-brown color. Serve fresh out of the oven or even a day old.