Spanakopita (and phyllo) – part 2

18 Jan

Did you miss part one?  Be sure to check it out, because otherwise you’re going to be a little lost…

So where did we leave off?  Ah yes, it’s time to make the phyllo!

IMG_0029 An empty bowl.  This shouldn’t be at the beginning of a recipe, it should be at the end – right?  Well, this silly blogger forgot to take a picture of everything in the bowl!  Fortunately, I’m sure you’ve seen a bowl full of white dough being mixed together and can imagine what it looked like :)

This was everything:  flour, salt, water (save for 1/4 cup), vinegar and olive oil.

IMG_0030Knead the dough for 10 –15 minutes.

IMG_0031While kneading, add the rest of the water as you feel it is kneaded (haha, that was on purpose :P), in order to bring the dough together and make it pliable.  When the dough is workable and elastic, you’re done kneading (it won’t take an hour, but that much kneading might feel like it!).  Shape the dough into a ball.IMG_0033When you’re done, put a small amount of oil in your hands and coat the outside of the dough.  Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and leave on the counter.

Now walk away.

Seriously.

Don’t touch this dough for at least 2 hours.  I did a lot of research when I was trying to figure out if I’d be able to make my own phyllo dough and most said the longer you leave it, the better.

Speaking of research, I read a lot about phyllo dough and read a ton of recipes on how to make it.  I was shocked at the vast differences.  If I were planning on following a recipe, I wouldn’t have known which one to follow.  Instead I found a few (fairly) consistent ratios and the ingredients that made the most sense to me.

And that’s how this recipe was born :)

*ahem* Now where was I…

Ah yes, it’s now 2 hours later.  Now get this lovely piece of equipment out:

IMG_0127That’s right, your pasta maker!

*sidenote:  I read lots of recipes that said that you could just roll the dough out and stretch it to how you wanted and I can see how it would work.  However, I think I would much prefer this method – even though it probably takes MUCH LONGER!  Fair warning…

Before you start, grease your ramekins with a little butter.  This way you won’t forget when you’re all excited about the phyllo and ready to put it in.  IMG_0129Cut your dough into equal pieces.

IMG_0130

I actually cut one of the quarters again and only used 1/8 of the dough for the rest of the recipe.

I wrapped the remaining phyllo tightly so that it would freeze well and could be used another day.

This recipe purposely uses only a little bit of phyllo.  This is because I not only wanted the spinach to be the star, but  I wanted to cut calories by eliminating the layers and butter that are typical in phylllo recipes.

IMG_0159

Now flatten your dough enough that you can fit it through the largest setting on your pasta maker.  IMG_0132In order for your dough to come out evenly, without bubbles or tears – crank it SLOWLY and be sure to guide the top end of dough with your hand – otherwise it’ll stick to the machine.

IMG_0133Once your dough comes out, fold it and put it through again.

IMG_0134

Continue this process.

If you notice that it’s getting too narrow, fold it in the opposite direction and put it through again.    IMG_0138

Once you feel that you’ve gotten the dough through the machine to your satisfaction (no bubbles, tears) and that it wouldn’t get thinner by passing it through again, take it down one setting smaller.

I generally passed the dough through 6-8 times (it is a time commitment….) on each setting before going down to the next one.

I can’t stress enough, how important it is to go SLOWLY.

IMG_0140

Once you’ve worked your way through the lowest setting, you’ll end up with this!

IMG_0141 IMG_0142 Notice that you can see through the dough.  This is the consistency that you are aiming for.  This stuff stretches like no tomorrow!

Clearly you would now use the dough in whatever manner your recipe calls for.

My recipe had me only lining four ramekins and bunching the excess on top.  In order to do this, I cut the dough into four equal pieces and then s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d it a little bit more to fit the shape of the ramekins.

IMG_0143 IMG_0144Place the dough in the ramekin, stretching if need be in order to have the dough reach the bottom and have enough hanging over the edges to eventually cover the top.

Be sure to be careful doing this.  You would hate to tear your dough when you’ve put soooo much work into it.

IMG_0146

Take your spinach mixture and divide it evenly between the four ramekins,

IMG_0147  IMG_0149Bring the edges of the dough over the top of the mixture and press all of the edges together in order to try to seal the Spanakopita.  IMG_0151

Melt enough butter to coat the tops of the Spanakopita and brush on.

IMG_0153

Place all of the ramekins in a baking pan just to be ready for any potential spill over.

IMG_0158

Into the oven it goes!

IMG_0161

Putting the Spanakopita under the broiler for a few minutes will help to get it brown and crispy.

IMG_0163

Et voila!  One single serving Spanakopita, heavy on the spinach and light on the phyllo and butter.  Just remember that that spinach is going to be HOT when you dig in.

IMG_0164 IMG_0165

Delicious!  Can’t wait to make it again!  Todd’s only complaint:  he wished that there was more phyllo!  This would have definitely been tasty, but was also what I was trying to get away from.  A taste of the phyllo instead of layers, upon layers was quite sufficient in this case :)

…oh, and they reheat wonderfully!  I brought one for my lunch one day and it tasted nearly the same as when I took it out of the oven.

 

Spanakopita

  • 1 lb Spinach (I used half raw and frozen)
  • 2 Green onions
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese
  • 2 tsp grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Butter to grease ramekins and brush tops
  1. Put spinach in food processor on low until spinach is in small pieces and stems are incorporated.  If spinach is frozen (better to use fresh), you can get this same consistency, and no need to thaw.  You’ll simply have to let the water evaporate in step 3.
  2. Mince your green onions, using the entire onion, except any dark green ends that may be dried out.
  3. Place a pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil to the pan, and once heated add spinach, onions and garlic.  While mixture is heating, add oregano, coriander and dill and incorporate spices well.  Take pan off the heat when onions are tender, approximately 5-8 minutes.
  4. Allow spinach mixture to cool to room temperature.
  5. When cooled, add beaten egg, all three cheeses, salt and pepper to the mixture.  Stir well, to ensure flavours are throughout.
  6. Place 1/4 of mixture in each of 4 buttered, phyllo lined ramekins (phyllo recipe follows).
  7. Bring edges together and press tightly to seal mixture inside
  8. Brush melted butter on top, to help the phyllo brown and crisp.
  9. Place all ramekins in a baking pan, in case of any overflow.  Place pan in oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until tops are just beginning to brown and and butter around the edge is bubbling.  Then place under low broiler for 3-5 minutes (but watch carefully!) to make the top crispy.
  10. Enjoy!

Phyllo Dough

  • 2 2/3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Very warm water + 1/4 cup Very warm water
  • 1 Tbsp White vinegar
  • 2 tsp Olive oil + 1/2 tsp to coat outside of dough
  1. Sift dry ingredients together.
  2. Gradually add in the wet ingredients: 1/2 cup water, vinegar and 2 tsp olive oil.  Use the warmest tap water that you can.  Warm water is the key to the dough coming together properly.
  3. Knead your dough for 10-15 minutes, until the dough feels elastic.  You may need up to another 1/4 cup of water (added gradually) in order to get this consistency.
  4. Form your dough into a ball and use your remaining oil to put a thin coat on the outside of the dough.
  5. Wrap your dough tightly in plastic wrap, and let sit on counter for at least 2 hours.
  6. Dough is now ready to put through your pasta maker or be rolled.  Your goal is to make the dough thin enough that you can see your fingers through it.  When you have that consistency, it is at the correct thickness to use for your recipe.  For tips on rolling your dough through a pasta maker, see above!
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4 Responses to “Spanakopita (and phyllo) – part 2”

  1. B.Bennett January 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Fantastic post! Well worth the time it took to write the blog!
    This is one of my fav meals! Good choice!

    I love dill in my spanikopita, and I like how you upped the healthiness by using cottage cheese along with the feta. Brilliant!

    And making your own phyllo? Awesome! The tutorial is amazing too – makes it much less daunting for sure.

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 3/52! This is going to be a fantastic year of reading for me! Thanks! :)

    • Becky at Flybynyght January 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      Recipe 3 which will be up by Friday is TVP ‘Meatballs’ and they were delicious!!!

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  1. Recipe 2/52 Spanakopita (and phyllo) – part 1… « - January 18, 2011

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