Friday, December 28, 2012

spanakopita, my way

You know how when someone tells you about this great movie they saw that you just have to see and when you go to see it with all kinds of expectations it fails to deliver and you leave the theater wondering where your two plus hours went?

You know how when someone tells you about this great book they just read that was so enlightening and you read it and can't even get through the first 100 pages?

That is what happened with my first phyllo dough experience. But in the other direction.

I bought frozen phyllo dough in the hopes of making some kind of spinach-cheese concoction in muffin tins. I thought, "Great. Pre-made dough. That way I won't have to make my own pie crust."

Then I read the descriptions involving the stuff: Make sure to cover the unused dough with plastic and a wet towel; Work quickly; The dough is hard to work with, finicky, troublesome; I will never use it again; What was I thinking?

But as it turns out, the dough was not all that hard to manage. Lucky for me I read all those warnings. It couldn't have been as difficult as I had pictured in my mind.

The spanakopita was one of my Christmas dinner offerings. And here is a Christmas offering of another kind. I hope you had a marvelous holiday with many offerings of both kinds, edible and not.

photo by Nico Moser

Spanakopita, My Way
1 cup or more olive oil, for brushing
12 sheets frozen phyllo dough
2 tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen spinach
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and pepper

1. The day before place your frozen phyllo dough in the fridge to thaw.

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until aromatic. Add frozen spinach and cook until thawed. Add cheese and mix until you have a mostly even consistency.

3. Unroll phyllo dough on table and cover with plastic wrap and a moist towel. Pull out one sheet and brush oil over one half of its surface. Fold the un-brushed side over on top of the brushed side. Keep doing this until the size of the dough fits into a cupcake tin (this makes a thicker dough than all the other recipes suggest, but it was fine - who can argue against more phyllo dough?).

4. Carefully fit the dough into the tin with enough hanging over the edge to cover the filling.Spoon the filling into the dough and fold extra dough over, covering it. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is slightly browned. Serve room temperature or right out of the oven.

Makes 12 cupcake sized Spanakopitas

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