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Spanakopita

Spanakopita

 

Spanakopita is a classic Greek savory pie consisting of a comforting spinach and feta cheese filling sandwiched between flaky layers of paper thin phyllo dough. This Spanakopita recipe is brought to you by Mrs. Sam Calloway and is one of the MGO Family favorites! This also happens to be the ALL-TIME FAVORITE meal of MGO co-owner, Mr. Sam... which is saying a lot considering his wife was a Home Economics major and definitely knows her way around the kitchen! Mrs. Calloway's Spanakopita is both elegant and impressive, yet easy to make. The two star ingredients are fresh spinach...lots of it (two pounds to be exact) and MGO Extra Virgin Olive Oil! This pie tastes best when made with fresh spinach, though you could also use the same amount of frozen spinach — just be sure to thaw completely and squeeze out all the excess water before using. The other star ingredient really can't be substituted. My Greek Orchard Extra Virgin Olive Oil not only adds a robust Greek flavor profile that is unique to MGO, but the olive oil is vital to keeping the multiple layers of thin phyllo dough moist so it doesn't dry out and break before you can get it filled and in the oven! 

This comforting & tummy-filling recipe can be baked a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, then rewarmed at 400 degrees until heated through, about 15 minutes. You can also use any extra phyllo dough to line a well-greased muffin tin to make mini or hors d'oeuvre size pies! Just be sure to use My Greek Orchard Extra Virgin Olive Oil to generously coat the muffin pan before lining with phyllo dough, as well as in between th layers of phyllo, and after on top of the bunched phyllo topping. Otherwise, you'll phyllo dough will dry out and begin to break into thousands of tiny pieces at the slightest touch!  If you make the traditional half-sheet pan size pie, you can cut it into small squares or triangles to serve as an appetizer, or for a more complete meal, serve larger squares of the pie alongside soup or salad. This beautiful savory pie is always a show-stopper and crowd pleaser...even to the pickiest palettes!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby spinach, chopped
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 14 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled into large pieces
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 ½ cups My Greek Orchard Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 pound package frozen phyllo dough*

 

Instructions

 *Defrost phyllo dough in the package overnight in refrigerator.  Do not open the packages until ready to use.  This dough is thin, very fragile, and dries out quickly. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before preparing the filling to bring it to room temperature.

 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Grease a ½ sheet pan well with My Greek Orchard Olive Oil.
  3. Mix by hand in a large bowl spinach, scallions, ricotta, feta, eggs, salt, dill, and 1 cup My Greek Orchard Olive Oil. Mixture should be thoroughly combined and kneaded together.
  4. Lay 6 sheets of phyllo on the bottom of the pan drizzling olive oil between each sheet.
  5. Place 2 sheets of phyllo on each of the 4 sides of the pan.  Sheets should be laying half inside the pan and half outside the pan.  Drizzle oil between layers of dough.
  6. Spread filling inside the pan and fold dough hanging outside the pan over the filling. Drizzle oil over the dough.
  7. Place 8 sheets of phyllo over top of pan covering all of the filling. Drizzle oil between sheets.  Tuck the edges of these sheets under the filling or inside the edges of the pan.
  8. Use the remaining phyllo by scrunching individual sheets and placing them on top.  Drizzle with oil. This gives a very pretty, finished appearance to the pie.
  9. Using a very sharp knife cut the pie into 12 equal squares. (It is much easier to cut before baking).
  10. Place in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 1 hour until golden brown. 
  11. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

 

This versatile recipe can be made as an appetizer, week-night meal, or for an elegant soiree. the possibilities don't end there either. The presentation of the pie is limited only to ones imagination! You can serve it as we have pictured below in a rectangle on a half-sheet pan or in a more traditional round pie pan. Make mini versions using a well greased muffin tin or evyou can even use a loaf pan to make an extra thick version! This recipe has is one MGO's  "go-to's" anytime we have to come up with a crowd pleasing dish.  Speaking of "crowd pleasing" and as a mother of a very picky toddler who isn't a fan of "green food," this meal is always a hit (and a great way to sneak much need veggies into my kids' diet)! We promise, once you try Mrs. Calloway's sensational Spanakopita, there is no going back to anything less!!!