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Spanakopita Greek Pastries

Spanakopita

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Makes about 2 dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from many recipes.

Spanakopita is normally made as a savory pie with phyllo sheets on the top and bottom with the spinach filling in between. I wanted to make those individual little spanakopita that are sold frozen in the warehouse store. So I set about writing this recipe to make single-serving spanakopita that would work well in a buffet setting or as appetizers when friends visit.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion; chopped
1 bunch green onions (6 to 8 count); chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 pounds (900g) spinach; rinsed and chopped
½ cup (1 ounce/28g) chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
2 large eggs
½ cup (4½ ounces/128g) ricotta cheese
1 cup (8 ounces/227g) feta cheese; crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package (16 ounces/454g) phyllo dough sheets
About ½ cup (120ml) olive oil

Directions:

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and garlic. Sauté an additional minute. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to sauté until spinach is limp, about 4 minutes. (This recipe uses a lot of spinach and I therefore need to cook it in stages. It won’t all fit in one pan.) Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. After it has cooled enough to feel safe to handle, the spinach can be pressed between layers of paper towel to draw off excess moisture. You can also use a potato ricer to squeeze out excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in the spinach mixture. Adjust for salt and pepper. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a clean work area and brush lightly with olive oil. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of one end (see illustrations that follow). Fold over the two sides to encase the filling and brush the top surface with more olive oil. Roll up from the filling end, to make either a rectangular or triangular pastry. Continue rolling pastries until all filling is used.

Heat oven to 375°F (175°C).

Place pastries on a greased or lined (with parchment paper) baking sheet without crowding. Two baking sheets will likely be necessary. Bake on separate racks for 20 minutes, then switch the sheets between the two racks. Bake an additional 20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve hot.