was how I spent a sunny Monday morning and who better to learn from than local friends.
Chrisanthi and family ran a taverna in Loggos for many years where she cooked home-made local dishes, the perfect teacher.
A keen cook and baker I wanted to learn how to make a few key dishes from scratch, spanakopita being one of them, so here goes:
For the pastry (which I can only liken to short crust) this is to make 2 enormous pita’s!! at least 20 generous portions, nothing is made in small quantities in Greece!
1/2 kilo of plain flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 level tbsp salt
1 glass of water (see the image of the size)
Bring the ingredients together in a bowl, kneading for a few minutes, the pastry should be like bread dough, if it is too dry add a little extra water but not too much it shouldn’t get sticky. Leave to rest in the bowl uncovered for 20 minutes whilst you prep the filling.
for the filling:
3kg of fresh spinach or 2kg of frozen
Large bunch of spring onions (at least 15)
Large bunch of dill
2 garlic cloves
3/4 kilo of feta
handful of rice
salt and pepper
Wash the spinach, we used the stalks aswell just removing the harder root piece, leave the leaves whole.
Dice the onion and slice the spring onions, we used the stalks aswell, roughly chop the garlic and dill.
Crumble the feta and leave to one side in a bowl, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and season with pepper only.
In a large saucepan put around 4 tbsp of olive oil, add the onion, garlic, spring onion and dill and leave to sweat, add black pepper. Add the spinach in handfuls and leave to wilt, once softened turn the heat off, throw in a handful of rice. Once the mixture has cooled (make sure it has otherwise you will end up with scrambled egg!) drain away any excess water and then add the feta and eggs and combine together. Season.
Back to the pastry, this is the fun part. Chrisanthi uses a normal rolling pin to start and then half a broom handle, very inventive but super effective to get it very thin.
Make sure the surface is well floured, roll out with the larger pin and then using the smaller pin you let the pastry wrap around the pin but keep pushing it outwards from the middle, it gives quite easy and you want it pretty thin to line the tin and have enough to wrap around the filling.
Oil your tin very well with olive oil and then line with the pastry making sure you have enough overlay.
Add the filling and then drizzle with olive oil.
It takes about 45 minutes in a pre-heated 200/220 degree oven.
Whilst cooking we enjoyed a coffee and tsipero (for the head chef) on the balcony.
So very proud, it tasted delicious, the pastry is very light. We enjoyed a slice in the sunshine.