Make Ahead

Creamy Spanikopita with Fresh Spinach and Dill

March  9, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

I love authentic spinach pies, from sumac-sour Lebanese turnovers to savory Balkan burekas. But my favorite is this unabashedly cheesy-Anglo spin on spanikopita, which takes the traditional feta, phyllo and spinach, and features it all on a creamy background of cottage cheese and sharp fresh dill. The fresh spinach requires a bit of fuss (it's annoying to mix with the ingredients in its unreduced state, and gives off liquid that you've got to bind with egg and absorb with a bit of starch), but the fresh flavor is well worth it. —deensiebat

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 pound feta cheese (a creamy style feta, like Israeli or French, is especially nice)
  • 1/4 cup coarsley chopped fresh dill (~1 small bunch)
  • 1/4 red (preferred) or yellow onion, finely chopped, or 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed, dried and roughly chopped (preferably a large bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons some sort of cracked-grain cereal (cream of rice, farina, etc)
  • 1/2 packet phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (as needed)
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cottage and feta cheeses, dill, and onion or scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you want it somewhat strongly seasoned, since it'll be mixed with the spinach, but be careful as the feta contributes a lot of salt). Mix in the egg. Add the spinach, by handfuls, until the mixture is somewhat well-distributed.
  3. Grease a large casserole dish with olive oil. You can also use a sheet tray, if you prefer a thinner spanikopita, or whatever dish you so desire. Open the package of phyllo, making sure to keep any unused portion covered with a dishtowel so that it doesn't dry out. Lay down two sheets of phyllo in the casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the sheets, using a pastry brush if you have (or wadded-up bit of waxed paper or such if you're me). Repeat the process, until you have 8 sheets down. Lightly sprinkle the farina (or its equivalent) over the top sheet (this will absorb excess liquid given off by the spinach, and prevent it from sogging your bottom phyllo). Spread the spinach-cheese mixture over the top. Lay down another 8 sheets of phyllo on top, oiling between every two layers. Oil the top layer, and cut a few vents to allow the filling to bubble up.
  4. Bake until the top is lightly browned, and the filling is bubbling, ~45 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool 5 minutes, and serve.
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  • cheese1227
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2 Reviews

cheese1227 March 9, 2010
I love the tip of using the farina to soak up the extra liquid. Well done!
deensiebat March 10, 2010
Thanks! I got the idea years ago from a friend's mother. Just a bit goes a long way, and lets you have fresh spinach taste without the sog.