Spiral spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) supergolden bakes

Monday, 3 February 2014

Spiral spanakopita (spinach and feta pie)

I should call this post 'spanakopita revisited' as I have already posted a recipe some time ago. This time around though it is spanakopita as my mother makes it - with homemade phyllo (or is it filo?) pastry. The difference is quite pronounced - homemade phyllo is quite different to the store-bought stuff - much less brittle and a lot tastier. It is also much easier to make than I had imagined so this week I made two large spiral pies with one batch of pastry.

I brought one of the pies to the recent 'inherited recipes' Band of Bakers event and I am pleased to say there was not a crumb left (although the fact that is was savoury may have something to do with that). I am sharing the recipes for both the spanakopita (spinach & feta pie) and the kreatopita (lamb & feta pie) in this post. 

For the phyllo (filo) pastry 
Makes enough for 2 large pies
Adapted from Vefa's Kitchen
500g | 4 1/2 cups plain flour (or a mix of plain and strong bread flour) plus more for dusting
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (sometimes ouzo is used or raki)
240ml | 1 cup warm water (more or less as needed)
Cornflour (cornstarch) for rolling and dusting

For each pie
115g | 1 stick melted unsalted butter for brushing or olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
2 tbsp nigella seeds (optional)

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the water, oil and vinegar. Mix together using your hands or a wooden spoon to form a fairly stiff dough.
  3. Tip the dough onto an oiled worktop. Oil your hands and knead vigorously for 10-15 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. Alternatively knead in a stand mixer using the dough hook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 balls, dust with cornflour and wrap each in cling film (plastic wrap). Rest for about an hour or put in the fridge to use later (can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days).
Using the dough
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F for a good 15 minutes. 
  2. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with cornflour (or a mix of cornflour and flour). Roll out one dough ball as thinly as possible and brush with melted butter. Set aside.
  3. Roll out a second piece roughly the same size as the first and lay it on top of the first tolled out piece of dough. Press together. 
  4. Roll out the combined phyllo sheets into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter and place the filling alongside the long edge closest to you (see pic). Roll the dough over the filling (stretching it if necessary) into a long cylinder. 
  5. Roll the cylinder into a spiral and place on a tray lined with baking paper (or a large round metal pie dish - tapsi in Greek).
  6. Repeat with another 2 dough balls and rest of the filling and wind the second cylinder around the first to create a large spiral.
  7. Brush generously with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds.
  8. Bake for 1h - 1h 20m until golden and crisp. Cool slightly before serving. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and either eaten cold or reheated in the oven.

Spanakopita filling
800g | 28oz frozen spinach
200g | 8oz feta cheese, crumbled
200g | 8oz goat's cheese or ricotta crumbled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large bunch fresh dill, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped  (about 1/2 cup)
8 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
2 large leeks (white part only) finely chopped
4 balls homemade phyllo (or 1 pack phyllo)
100g |  4oz toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

  1. Thaw the spinach according to pack instructions and put in a sieve to drain. Use your hands to squeeze as much moisture out of the cooked spinach as you can. (You can use fresh spinach if you like - chop and wilt it first). 
  2. Sauté the green onions and leeks in a pan with a splash of olive oil until soft. Put in a large bowl and add the spinach and herbs. Mix together and set aside to cool. 
  3. Add the crumbled cheeses, nutmeg, pine nuts and the eggs and mix together thoroughly. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Kreatopita filling (meat pie)
500g | 17.6 oz lean lamb mince
200g | 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2  large onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
100g | 4oz dried apricots finely chopped
2-3 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
1-2 large handfuls of fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp dukkah
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
100g |  4oz toasted pine nuts
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

  1. Brown the lamb mince in a pan with a splash of olive oil, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Drain the lamb to get rid of some of the fat and juices.
  2. Heat a little oil in the pan and add the chopped onions and caster sugar. Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat until soft and translucent. 
  3. Return the mince to the pan and add the chopped apricots, pine nuts spices and seasonings. Fry, stirring constantly, until mince is cooked through.
  4. Put the filling in a bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and cheese and stir together to combine.

Am submitting this post to February's Cooking with Herbs challenge hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays.

Cooking with Herbs

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior


  1. gorgeous photos and this just looks so delicious! :)

  2. I'm so impressed you took the time to make your own filo dough for this spanakopita! What a delicious treat and it looks like it turned out perfectly...

  3. This looks really good & nothing like i had imagined! I love Spinach & Feta and so i definately want to try making this :)