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Spanakopitta - Spinach Pie

Having this recipe, hand written by my mum, on her fathers headed business paper (he retired late 1980s ) should’ve rang alarm bells if I’m honest.


Firstly, it was written in Greek. I haven’t read Greek for 25years. What made this even more difficult for me was that it was my mums hand writing. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with my mums hand writing, there’s just something wrong with me trying to read it.


Secondly, the measures were in cups…. How big/small are these cups?


Thirdly, there was no method written out.


Finally, the paper was folded for approximately 20 years therefore the ‘tip’ I needed to know was worn away.


Can you see my problem here? I naturally thought that I put this all together and bake it in the oven. So, I make the pastry and set this aside and I begin to steam the spinach. My phone rings and it’s my mum calling from work to see how I’m getting on.


‘Fine’ I say, ‘this isn’t so hard’.


‘No it’s not’ mum says ‘once you fry the spring onions for them to soften, just add them to the spinach and make sure the béchamel cream has cooled down before you pour your mix onto the pastry’.


‘Wait, what?! Fry onions?! Béchamel cream?! Huh?’.


Now, this wasn’t a case of not being able to read this in Greek, it wasn’t there to read!


‘Mum, where exactly does it say everything you’ve just told me?’


‘Ah, no, I just wrote the ingredients. The method was told to me and I remember it’.


So, to everyone who bothers to read my agonising stories, I hope they make you laugh whilst I type away crying….



Ingredients

3 Packets of Spinach

1 Packet of Parsley

2 Bunches of Spring Onions

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Feta


Béchamel Cream

300ml Cup Milk

40g Plain Flour

1 Egg

1 Tsp Salt


Pastry

420g Plain Flour

1 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

250g Greek Yogurt

1 Tsp Salt


1 Beaten Egg

Sesame Seeds



Method

Preheat the oven Gas mark 5/ 375F/ 170C.

Begin by making the pastry as this needs to rest for at least 30 minutes. Mix all the ingredients together until you are left with a soft pastry mix. Set this aside at room temperature.

Steam the spinach for approximately 15 minutes, using a colander, as this will remove any moisture for the spinach.

Heat the olive oil and soften the spring onions on a medium heat.

In the meantime, warm the milk to help speed the process of making the béchamel crème. Place the milk into a saucepan, large enough for you to be able to stir. Slowly add the flour whilst stirring quickly. This will become creamy very quickly and at this point, add the egg and salt. Continue stirring until you see bubbles forming. Now, turn this off to cool down.


Mix together the spring onions, the parsley, the spinach, the béchamel crème and the feta, place this to the side.


Now, this is tricky but doable. Half the pastry mix so one half is the base and the other half is the top. The pastry isn’t the easiest to work with, it will shrink back on you and is extra tricky to pick up.


In a tray, measuring approximately 29cm x 21cm, brush a beaten egg along the base of the tray to prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out your pastry to the size of you tray and place it into the base.


Pour in the spinach mix and roll the remaining pastry to the appropriate size of the tray to place on top.


Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Place in the oven for 1 hour.



Tips

If once you have mixed together the spinach ingredients, the filling is runny, before adding the feta, simmer on a low heat to reduce any excess liquid. If there is too much moisture, the pastry base will not cook.


When placing the pastry in your tray, you can work this to fit with your hands. The top pastry will be trickier, therefore you can cut away any excess pastry.


Cost

Cost under £6, serving 12 pieces.

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