Spinach pie with homemade phyllo stretched by hand

Spinach pie with homemade phyllo stretched by hand

There is nothing more delicious than a freshly baked pie. To me, nothing can compare to the wonderful aromas it spreads when baked, nor to the coveted crunchiness from the first to the last bite. Nothing more dreamy than the pastry taste of the phyllo, enhanced by the Mediterranean aromas of olive oil or the smell of butter. Sometimes I think that the filling is unnecessary. But then I remember the melted feta cheese that takes too long to cool down and tortures us until we achieve that first bite, the sweetness of the vegetable-filled pies, the taste of all kinds of meat pies enhanced with spices of Greek nature and so much more, the list is endless. The key is to have a good appetite and imagination.

But the variety is not just limited to the fillings but also to the way the dough is prepared and managed. So today I decided to make a pie with another wonderful phyllo, stretching by hand very easily and I confess that the procedure is also a lot of fun. To show you what I mean, let’s make it…

Ingredients

For a baking tray 42 cm wide

For the dough

To brush over the dough

For the filling

Leeks are optional but when I have a few of them, I prefer to add them to the filling because they give sweetness. If you prefer to only have spinach, then you will need to put more of it. You can also enhance its taste with spring onions and dill.

Also

Preparation

For the filling

If you use fresh spinach, cut the leaves and discard the stalks. Wash them very well and let them drain. You can also use frozen spinach for convenience, so no preparation is required. Then wash the leeks and chop them into small pieces.

Heat the oil and sauté the leeks first, until they lose their volume.

Then add the spinach and sauté until all its liquids evaporate. Set the filling aside to cool down.

Once cool, add the eggs and stir.

Crumble the cheese by hand or with the vegetable peeler, a technique I prefer because the taste of the feta spreads evenly in the filling.

For the phyllo dough

Put the water, oil and salt in a bowl or in the mixing bowl of your mixer. Add the flour gradually, while kneading, until you have a soft and elastic dough that sticks a little bit on your hands. Cover and let it rest for 30 mins to an hour.

The amount of flour is always different so when the dough is as soft as a baby’s cheek, don’t pour any more flour even if it’s slightly sticky in your hands.

While the dough is resting, melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove the foam that forms on the surface and pour it into a bowl without the white sediment that forms at the bottom. In other words, we want clear butter without the solids of milk and the water it contains. Then mix it with olive oil.

When the dough rests, it won’t be sticky anymore but even if it is a bit sticky, that’s ok. Sprinkle the dough with some cornstarch and divide it into 22 pieces. Form the pieces into balls. Cover them with a towel so that they don’t dry out.

With the help of cornstarch, roll out each dough ball in a sheet 10-12 cm wide.

Put the sheet on a plate and brush it with the mixture of butter and olive oil. Make two piles of sheets. One pile will have 12 pieces and you’ll use it to make the bottom layer of the pie. The other pile will have 10 pieces and will be on top of the pie. But even if you have 11 sheets in each pile, believe me, it’s not that big of a deal.  The oil that runs on the plate doesn’t bother us, because we will pour it over the pie at the end.

Oil your baking tray and set aside. Oil your working surface as well. Take the first sheet from the pile of 12 and using your hands, hold the edges in the air for a while. The weight of the sheet will help to stretch it downwards. Rotate it clockwise, gently.

The dough is so soft and elastic that it stretches immediately. Υou can stretch it a little more by gently pulling it with the top of your hands until it reaches a diameter of about 30 cm.

Place it on the table and slowly pull the edges that have more dough than the centre. Pull it again while rotating clockwise. The diameter of the sheet will be smaller than the baking tray’s diameter, but you should try to stretch it as much as you can. It doesn’t matter at all if a hole appears on the sheet. Τake the second dough ball and do exactly what you did with the first. Then place it over the first sheet and pull it to stretch until it reaches the size of the first one. Continue until all 12 dough balls are rolled out.

With the help of the rolling pin, transfer the stack of sheets to the baking tray.

Slowly pressing the dough, stretch it so that it covers the whole tray. If it comes back, let it rest for a while and repeat.

Spread the filling on top.

Stretch the 10 sheets of the second pile, just like the previous ones, and cover the pie. You don’t need to fold the edges because the edges of the sheets are thicker.

Brush the surface with the mixture of oil and butter, that is left in the bowl and on the plates, where you had the sheets and cut the pie into pieces. Not too deep, just enough to let the steam of the spinach out while baking. Let some pieces remain uncut, it better holds the sheet tight.

Bake the pie on the heating elements, at 200 C until golden brown, about an hour. In my own oven, I need to put it resting on the bottom of the oven for 15-20 minutes and then put it on the middle rack. This is the only way the bottom of my pies is baked nicely.

Enjoy!

Nanà…

Spinach pie with homemade phyllo stretched by hand

Ingredients

For a baking tray 42 cm wide

For the dough

  • 2 cups lukewarm water (500 ml)
  • 2 tbsp seed oil (30 g)
  • 1 tbsp salt (20 g)
  • 6 cups strong flour (about 800 g)

To brush over the dough

  • 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup butter

For the filling

  • 500 g spinach
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 500 g feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Leeks are optional but when I have a few of them, I prefer to add them to the filling because they give sweetness. If you prefer to only have spinach, then you will need to put more of it. You can also enhance its taste with spring onions and dill.

Also

  • Cornstarch to roll out the phyllo dough

Preparation

For the filling

If you use fresh spinach, cut the leaves and discard the stalks. Wash them very well and let them drain. You can also use frozen spinach for convenience, so no preparation is required. Then wash the leeks and chop them into small pieces.

Heat the oil and sauté the leeks first, until they lose their volume. Then add the spinach and sauté until all its liquids evaporate. Set the filling aside to cool down.

Once cool, add the eggs and stir. Crumble the cheese by hand or with the vegetable peeler, a technique I prefer because the taste of the feta spreads evenly in the filling.

For the phyllo dough

Put the water, oil and salt in a bowl or in the mixing bowl of your mixer. Add the flour gradually, while kneading, until you have a soft and elastic dough that sticks a little bit on your hands. Cover and let it rest for 30 mins to an hour.

While the dough is resting, melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove the foam that forms on the surface and pour it into a bowl without the white sediment that forms at the bottom. In other words, we want clear butter without the solids of milk and the water it contains. Then mix it with olive oil.

When the dough rests, it won’t be sticky anymore but even if it is a bit sticky, that’s ok. Sprinkle the dough with some cornstarch and divide it into 22 pieces. Form the pieces into balls. Cover them with a towel so that they don’t dry out. With the help of cornstarch, roll out each dough ball in a sheet 10-12 cm wide.

Put the sheet on a plate and brush it with the mixture of butter and olive oil. Make two piles of sheets. One pile will have 12 pieces and you’ll use it to make the bottom layer of the pie. The other pile will have 10 pieces and will be on top of the pie. But even if you have 11 sheets in each pile, believe me, it’s not that big of a deal.  The oil that runs on the plate doesn’t bother us, because we will pour it over the pie at the end.

Oil your baking tray and set aside. Oil your working surface as well. Take the first sheet from the pile of 12 and using your hands, hold the edges in the air for a while. The weight of the sheet will help to stretch it downwards. Rotate it clockwise, gently. The dough is so soft and elastic that it stretches immediately. Υou can stretch it a little more by gently pulling it with the top of your hands until it reaches a diameter of about 30 cm.

Place it on the table and slowly pull the edges that have more dough than the centre. Pull it again while rotating clockwise. The diameter of the sheet will be smaller than the baking tray’s diameter, but you should try to stretch it as much as you can. It doesn’t matter at all if a hole appears on the sheet. Τake the second dough ball and do exactly what you did with the first. Then place it over the first sheet and pull it to stretch until it reaches the size of the first one. Continue until all 12 dough balls are rolled out.

With the help of the rolling pin, transfer the stack of sheets to the baking tray. Slowly pressing the dough, stretch it so that it covers the whole tray. If it comes back, let it rest for a while and repeat. Spread the filling on top. Stretch the 10 sheets of the second pile, just like the previous ones, and cover the pie. You don’t need to fold the edges because the edges of the sheets are thicker.

Brush the surface with the mixture of oil and butter, that is left in the bowl and on the plates, where you had the sheets and cut the pie into pieces. Not too deep, just enough to let the steam of the spinach out while baking. Let some pieces remain uncut, it better holds the sheet tight.

Bake the pie on the heating elements, at 200 C until golden brown, about an hour. In my own oven, I need to put it resting on the bottom of the oven for 15-20 minutes and then put it on the middle rack. This is the only way the bottom of my pies is baked nicely.


Source: https://cookeatup.com/en/spinach-pie-with-homemade-phyllo-stretched-by-hand/

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