Greek food is my absolute favourite! I love their use of fresh herbs, gorgeous veg and aromatic spices, and they always seem to have loads of delicious dishes that just happen to be veggie. They’re not added to the menu to tick an inclusivity box, they’re fantastic, authentic recipes that just don’t require meat. I’m always spoilt for choice in Greek restaurants, and that’s before I’ve even glanced at the dessert menu.
Whilst on holiday in Kefalonia a few years ago, my husband and I wondered into a bakery (probably more me wondering in and him following me to make sure I don’t spend the rest of the day in there) and I picked up a Spinach Pie (spanakopita). It was what we’d call a pasty, a square pastry parcel with a filling of spinach, feta cheese and herbs. It was so good I went back the next day for another one and then spent weeks trying to recreate it back at home. This is my version.
I have included my go-to rough puff pasty recipe below which has been adapted from an old cookery book I stole from my parents when I moved out. It’s really easy, honestly, and doesn’t take a great deal of time. However, if you’d rather not, shop bought puff pastry will do fine.
I make a large batch of these and store them in air tight containers in the freezer and reheat them in the oven when I fancy one. If you don’t want to make so many, just half the ingredients.
Ready in 50 mins (10 mins making the pastry, 10 mins prep, 30 mins bake) – makes 8 large pasties.
- 400g of plain flour
- 300g of cold, salted butter, cut into tiny dice
- A pinch of mustard powder
- 250mls of cold water
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 200g of fresh spinach leaves
- 200g of feta cheese (Get the best quality you can find or your pasties will be bland. Look for ‘Greek Feta’, not ‘salad cheese’. It will really make a difference)
- 100g of grated cheddar cheese
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- A pinch of mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- Mix the water and lemon juice together.
- Put flour, mustard powder and butter into a bowl. – Pic 1
- With a knife, mix to a fairly soft crumbly paste with the water and lemon juice. Try not to break the butter down too much. – Pic 2
- Draw together with finger tips and turn out onto a floured surface. – Pic 3
- With a floured rolling pin, roll out the mixture into a rectangle, don’t try to get it too thin or perfect, just a rough shape will do at this point.
- Fold in three, envelope style – fold the bottom 3rd over the middle third – Pic 4 – then the top 3rd over the other two. – Pic 5
- Turn the block a quarter turn. – Pic 6
- Repeat the rolling and folding at least 3 more times. the pastry will come together and smooth out. – Pic 7
- Wrap in cling film or put in a polythene bag and chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas mark 6.
- Wilt the spinach in a heat proof bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water in, in the microwave on full power for 30 second intervals, turning the leaves over with a spoon in between, until just wilted. – Pic 8
- Put the feta, cheddar, onion, herbs, pepper, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl and give it a good mix. – Pic 9
- Once the spinach has cooled slightly, squeeze all the liquid out of it. Doing this will make it clump up into a ball, so pull it apart as you add it to the cheese and onion mix. – Pic 10
- Mix the spinach into the cheese and onion mix. – Pic 11
- Roll out your pastry on a floured board to about the thickness of a pound coin and cut into 8 rectangles. – Pic 12
- Spoon an even amount of the filling onto one half of each of the pastry rectangles. Moisten the edges of each rectangle with a finger dipped in water to make sure the pastry sticks to itself and fold the empty side over to encase the filling. Crimp the edges and score the top of each one. – Pic 13
- Place onto an oven tray with baking parchment on and brush with a beaten egg or milk and bake for 20mins. – Pic 14
- Turn the tray around for an even bake and increase the temperature to 220c / 200c fan / gas mark 7 and bake for a further 10 mins, or until golden brown. – Pic 15
- Serve with tzatziki.