I totally forgot how much I like to eat raw filo pastry dipped in butter. I know it’s a bit wrong but then again, my boss likes to drink double cream from the carton. No judgment.
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what spanakopita is, it’s a Greek pastry made of buttery layers of filo, stuffed with a spinach and feta filling – drool. My friend Philippa’s been nagging me to make these for years but alas, the occasion has never quite presented itself, until now.
With a big charity event on the horizon and Jamie’s nan’s 82nd birthday that same weekend, I thought this is it, it’s time. So I dramatically whisked myself off to Waitrose (sorry Sainsbury’s, you ain’t near my work) and bought a giant bag of frozen spinach (which I then proceeded to defrosted on my lap, on the 390 bus home).
Back at chez Camden, I did a spot of research and came to the conclusion that these beggars, were potentially tricky little customers. So as usual, I chucked all my bamboozling research in the metaphorical bin and decided to wing it. Luckily for me and everyone else at Party on the Pitch, they turned out to be rather delightful – as was the party itself.
Every year, this marvellous family music festival takes place in Southam Warwickshire, to help raise money for motor neurone disease. Jamie’s Uncle Simon, tragically died of this degenerative disease back in 2011, but before he died, he was determined to raise awareness and £1,000,000 to help find a cure. Party on the Pitch, is just one of the ways in which money is being raised in Simon’s honour. If you’re feeling charitable, then a little donation can go a long way. Click here to find out more and to make a donation. Thank you.
Makes 12 / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 1 hr / V
500g frozen spinach thawed (once thawed, pressed and drained, you should have around 350g)
Half an onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Small handful of dill, chopped
Small handful of parsley, chopped
300g vegetarian feta
4 sheets of fresh Filo pastry cut into 6 squares (24 in total). I used jus-roll filo sheets 270g
100g unsalted butter
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan /400F/Gas mark 6. Start by taking your thawed spinach and put a quarter of it into a sieve over a bowl. Using a spoon, squish it down as much as you can to get the moisture out before scraping the spinach into a larger bowl. Repeat this step until you have no spinach left to squeeze.
2. Finely chop half an onion, 2 spring onions, a handful of dill a handful of parsley, 2 crushed garlic cloves and add it to the spinach along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a good stir. Using your hands, crumble all the feta into the mix and give it another thorough stir. In a small saucepan, heat 100g of butter on a low heat until melted. Put to one side.
3. On a clean surface, lay out two sheets of filo one on top of the other. Using a sharp knife, divide the filo roughly into 6, put to one side and then repeat with the other two sheets. You now should have 24 squares of filo. Stack on top of each other and put to one side.
4. On a chopping board, take one of your squares and brush it with butter right to the edges. Lay the second square on top creating a star shape. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of spinach mix and pop in the middle of your star. Brush with butter right to the edges and then carefully bring all the edges together and pinch the top firmly to seal in the filling, creating a little filo sack. (Treat filo like fabric, it folds like fabric but can tear so be gentle with it.)
5. Pop on a lined baking tray evenly spaced apart and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on their baking trays for 5 minutes. Transfer carefully to a cooling rack and leave to cool for a further 5 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely and refrigerate. Perfect for any barbecue or picnic.
If you’ve had a go at making my spanakopita parcels or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org