Spanakopitas

We made these pastries for a Christmas party we went to on Saturday, and everyone liked them. Filo (also fillo or phyllo) pastry is crispy and delicate, and the spinach-tofu filling was nice and spicy. An easier way out is to bake one big spanakopita in a baking dish, but triangles are better for parties.

spanakopita_tray.JPG

Spanakopita filling:

  • one batch of our tofu “cheese”
  • 300 g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 smallish leek (150 g), chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely cubed
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried red chili
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, slightly crushed between fingers

While Anni was preparing the filling, I started to write this post. I added the part on how the Spanakopitas tasted and how they were received by our friends only afterwards, I swear!

First, Anni fried the onions about 10 minutes on a medium low heat, until they were translucent and not yet brown. Then she added the chopped leek, and continued frying for about five minutes more. Then it was time to add the chili and the paprika, and after frying them for a minute or so, she added the spinach to the frying pan. After stirring for a while, she added the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, sugar and thyme. The spinachy part of the filling was now ready.

The other half of the filling, the tofu “cheese”, Anni had made the day before. After the spinach filling had cooled down a little, we combined it with the tofu, and were ready to assemble the pastries.

Assembling the triangles:

  • 450 gram package frozen filo pastry
  • olive oil (preferably in a spray bottle)

This was our first time using the filo dough, so we didn’t really know how hard it would be to work with. In the end it didn’t prove to be that difficult, but it is important to follow the instructions on the package carefully. We took the frozen filo dough out of the freezer the day before baking, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. On the day of baking, we let it thaw in the room temperature for two hours.

Another important thing to remember is that the filo sheets that aren’t worked on must be protected from air, so that they don’t dry out. We did this by placing a sheet of baking parchment over the remaining filo sheets, and covered the whole thing with a damp kitchen towel.

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First, Anni placed one filo sheet on a dry table, and cut the filo sheet with scissors in four parts lengthwise. Then she sprayed the filo strips with olive oil, and placed a scant tablespoon of filling by the end of each filo strip.

spanakopita_3.JPGspanakopita_4.JPG

Now, she folded the right corner of the dough over the filling, and a triangle formed. Then she folded the triangle over and over again, covering the filling with about three layers of filo dough. She cut off any excess dough, placed the triangles on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment, and sprayed them with olive oil.

Then we baked the triangles in 180 degrees Celsius, for about 15 minutes, until they were nicely browned.

5 Comments

  1. Posted December 4, 2007 at 03:56 | Permalink

    those look so crispy-tempting! also, I tried the tofu patties, they’re great! Are there any sauces you would recommend for them, though? I was stumped (my sauce-making ability extends about as far as marinara, :p)

    pictures of patties!
    http://bulletsoflove.blogspot.com/2007/12/toasty-food-for-frosty-day.html

  2. Shvetha
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 07:13 | Permalink

    This has been on my mind for a while..now that I’ve seen this it’s time to defrost the filo sitting in my freezer :-)

  3. Anni
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 13:54 | Permalink

    Shvetha; you really should make spanakopitas, they’re delicious! I wish we had enough freezer space to have filo pastry on hand all the time.

    Hi Liz; I’m glad you liked the recipe – tofu patties need sauce, you’re definitely right! The first day, we had some leftover red wine roux from Veganomicon, but it was a little
    overpowering – I’d go for milder flavors.

    The other sauce we had was basil yogurt sauce, which was a good match. I didn’t write it down, but it went something like this: some plain unsweetened soy yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of dried basil, one clove garlic (pressed), some salt, a pinch of sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. Just mix and serve, it’s really tasty and easy – so I definitely recommend it. Adding fresh basil would be great too, we just didn’t have any.

    We have plain Alpro-brand soy yogurt in Europe that’s perfect for these kinds of sauces, since it’s thick and tangy. Maybe you have something similar, and I guess regular soy yogurt would be fine too.

    Hope this helps!

  4. Posted February 26, 2012 at 16:10 | Permalink

    Good morning! I have gotten into making the cheese/cheese & spinach pie with the phyllo dough and find the salt content is high still even when the feta is rinsed well before using. I use unsalted butter too, but am thinking about trying the olive oil instead. I’ve never used tofu, find it to be a cultural unknown for me that gives an ‘ew’ factor but know many love it. I thought I’d try cutting it into the filling to increase nutrition and reduce sodium some more. My question is whether I would just use it plain, drained of excess fluid and not the spices your tofu cheese recipe uses, to mix with my feta and spinach…will it cook up with the same/similar consistency/texture as just feta you think?

  5. Heikki
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 16:24 | Permalink

    Hi Dee,

    I’m not sure really, I’ve never cooked with feta, but yeah, I think it could work. Why not try a 100% tofu filling first though? You might be positively surprised! Do keep in mind that unseasoned tofu is like a blank slate – it needs strong seasoning in a dish like this. That’s why we used Anni’s Tofu “cheese” filling with these pastries.

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