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 + defrosting time / V ❄
500g frozen spinach, defrosted
½ white 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
50g unsalted butter
1. Start by defrosting your frozen spinach in colander over a bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to thaw – this can take a few hours or sometimes even half a day. Once thawed, discard any excess water and place a quarter of the spinach in a sieve over a sink. Using the back of a spoon, squish the spinach down as much as you can to remove any remaining moisture before placing in a large bowl. Repeat this until you have no spinach left to squeeze.
2. Finely chop the onion, spring onions, dill, parsley and the garlic before adding to the spinach. Season generously with salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Using your hands, crumble in the feta and mix well. Put to one side.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over a low heat until melted. Put to one side. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan /400°F/gas mark 6.
4. On a clean surface, lay out the filo and cut into 24 squares 6 inches squared – roughly the size of a photograph (I put 2 sheets of filo one on top of the other and divided it roughly into 6 using a sharp knife. I then repeat this process giving me 24 squares of filo).
5. On a chopping board, take a square of filo and brush it with melted butter right to the edges. Lay the second square on top creating a star shape (see images below). Scoop a heaped tablespoon of spinach mix and place it in the centre (don’t be tempted to over fill your parcels, you want to be left with plenty of filo to play with). Brush with yet more butter right to the edges and carefully bring the corners together and pinch the top firmly to seal in the filling. Filo is very delicate and will tear so don’t worry if it does, just scrunch it and seal the parcels as best you can – they’re not supposed to look perfect. Place on a lined baking tray and repeat until you have 12 filo parcels – prepare for your hands to get very buttery.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 mins. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on their baking trays for 5 mins. Transfer carefully to a cooling rack and leave to cool for a further 5 mins. Serve warm or cool completely and refrigerate.
If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.
❄ – Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.