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Concertina spanakopita


Concertina spanakopita

How is that for a mouthful!

helllooooo happy foodies,

I love all things pastry. I love everything made with it, flaky, crispy, crumbly, light and buttery or soft and fluffy, I’m not fussy as long as it’s pastry. Add a filling, sweet or savoury and I’m in my happy place. Fillings are just something to wrap pastry around as far as I’m concerned.

As far as savoury fillings go, for me nothing beats the cheese and spinach combination. I just go weak at the knees, and try not to OD.

This open, snail-shaped concertina spanakopita, is formed out of a spiral of concertinaed pastry with its luscious filling spilling out the top of the folds. It’s is a delicious dish, full of flavoursome fresh herbs and cheese, and I just love the rustic look.

I am proud to say, I was able to hand over the leftover spanakopita to my son, mind you he did have to pry it out of my fingers. Sometimes it’s hard to let go…


Some important points

Before we start working on the spanakopita a few important things:

Pastry

If you are using frozen filo pastry, it needs to be thawed and brought down to room temperature.

If using refrigerated filo pastry you don’t have to wait for it to be at room temp, but I like to take mine out of the fridge about 30 minutes before using.

Make sure all of the ingredients are ready to be used before opening the filo pastry box. You want to start using the pastry as soon as you get it out of the box as it dries quickly.


Spinach

You need to squeeze the life out of that spinach, I don’t care how you do it, you can place the spinach inside a tea towel and wring the spinach, or like me you can use a sieve. Make a fist with your hand and push down on the spinach as hard as you can until no liquid comes out. If you don’t make sure the spinach is close to dry the pastry will be soggy.


Okay, are you ready to begin??

Let’s do this!


If you don't like the herbs I used you can swap them for whatever herbs you like: chives for dill, continental parsley to coriander, you can use leek instead of onion...


Filling

Ingredients

375g packet of filo pastry (containing roughly 18-20 sheets of pastry)

1 large purple onion, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons oil

1 garlic, crushed (optional, FOR YOU, for me it’s obligatory, I have to control myself when I use garlic, usually eat enough to kill a vampire from fifty paces just by blowing a kiss)

250g ricotta

250 g Greek feta

100g Grana padano cheese, finely grated

200g Greek yoghurt

500g frozen spinach thawed to room temperature

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

4 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 large egg


Butter mixture

120g butter melted

4 & ½ tablespoons olive oil



Method

Preheat the oven to 175C

In a small pan, heat the oil and cook the onion on medium-low heat for about 6-7 minutes and stir in the garlic until fragrant: about 1 minute. Turn heat off and set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, throw in all of the filling ingredients along with the cooked onion and garlic and give it a good stir.

Line a round springform baking tin (mine was 26cm) with baking paper and butter it too.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the olive oil.

Remember to make sure you have everything ready on your workbench before you open the pastry packaging.

Remove the filo pastry from packaging and cover with a kitchen towel to stop it from drying.

Dip a pastry brush in the melted butter and olive oil mixture and gently and lightly brush the pastry all over. Place another pastry sheet on top and brush that one too.

There are roughly 18-20 filo pastry sheets so you will need to divide the filling into roughly 9-10 portions. I was left with ½ a cup of filling. (I made an omelette out of it, which was delicious)

Using a tablespoon, spoon some of the filling mixture on to the two buttered pastry sheets in a random pattern leaving roughly 2/3 uncovered, (see photos below). Flatten the mixture you spooned on to the pastry either with the back of the spoon or a butter knife.

Start to push the pastry with your thumbs and gather with your index finger so it concertinas, trapping the filling in between the folds of pastry all the way to the end, then curl into a snail. Brush the top and sides of the snail with the butter mixture and place in the centre of the baking tin.

Repeat the process but this time after you formed the concertina, wrap it around the snail, lightly brush the outside with butter mixture and repeat process until you have used up all the pastry and filling.

Cook in the oven for 45min-55min or until golden brown, ENJOY










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