Home again and tired… I’m a bit late with the traditional Midsummer Post this year because I’ve just finished a crazy trip to lake Baikal along the Trans-Siberian railroad and then to Vladivostok and back on a plane. Still need some time to recuperate… And obviously yet another week or so of holidays to write posts about the trip. The day I arrived I was already baking (without any particular recipe, lazy style). In two days I felt ready for some more effort which means following a recipe. And here it is, my semi-improvised midsummer Greek spinach and cheese pie:
Spinach Pie with Phyllo Pastry will make a thin crunchy pie with soft cheese and herbs. For the recipe of the Homemade Phyllo Pastry, visit food.com. Here is the improvised filling and what I changed in the pastry recipe:
The only change to the pastry ingredients was to add some freshly ground pepper. As for the procedure, I did not use the dowel to poll it out as thin as possible but rather just… well, rolled it out with a rolling pin and then stretched it as much as I could before it would tear apart (which it inevitably did). For this pie I used only half of the pastry recipe – three sheets on the bottom and three sheets on top, brushing them with olive oil. Still thinking what to do with the remaining half (this type of pastry is traditionally used in both sweet and savoury pies, but already added pepper to it…).
- c. 350 g of soft white cheese like Adygea cheese (try Feta if you can get it but be careful with salt)
- 400 g of spinach (I used frozen)
- 1 egg
- some fresh herbs of your choice, chopped
- salt, pepper, seasoning of your choice
- dried oregano
- sesame seeds
- bran, wheat germ, semolina or just flour
First, I heated up frozen spinach without adding any water, so that the liquid evaporates. Then I left it to cool down a bit and meanwhile prepared the pastry. While the pastry was resting, I added cheese, egg, spices and herbs to the spinach. My idea was to get a less liquid filling not to lose the crunchiness of the pastry.
I laid three sheets of pastry onto the bottom, brushing them with olive oil. Then I sprinkled some wheat germ on top to absorb the liquid of the filling (you can use whatever absorbing ‘agent’ you prefer). Then I spread the filling over the bottom sheets and covered the pie with three more sheets, slightly pinching the edges. I brushed some olive oil on top too and sprinkled it with sesame seeds. I also pre-cut the pie which created this ‘pattern’:
Then I baked the pie at 200 ‘C for about 30 minutes until the top pastry layer achieved its golden colour.
Remarks: Thanks to all the precaution I took to reduce the amount of liquid in the filling, the bottom pastry layers was not soggy and the top was quite crunchy. Also, the pre-cutting worked out just fine. If you add all the 12 sheets into one pie, I would suggest making larger folds for the top pastry layers, so that you get a less dense dough part.
Result: A thin pie with a nice balance of pastry and filling. Perfect with a (Greek) salad on the side.
My midsummer series so far:
- 2012: Midsummer’s Black Currant Rhubarb Cake
- 2013: Midsummer Berry Smoothie
- 2014: Midsummer Roses in Pavlovsk and Almond Puff
- 2015: Midsummer: Samovar, Teacups and Saucers
Adding this post to the Lunch / Dinner collection, where you will find other cheese and greens pies. For many more Greek and Greek-inspired recipes like Tyropita or Spanakopita, check out the By Country collection.
Will come back with my Grand Russian Tour posts, I hope soon.