Having a food blog and frequently making new meals may make it seem that I am in the kitchen for hours at a time but don’t let me fool you–I’m pretty lazy. During the week, I will rarely make anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to prep and although I am a little more ambitious on the weekends, I still dread certain things like chopping vegetables for an hour or making things that need time to cool/rise/set/etc. before they can even start the cooking or baking process.
This is where the cheater’s version of spanakopita comes into play. I hate working with phyllo. Hate it. Am I a terrible Greek or what? Some people, like Peter, have even made their own phyllo and I am too lazy to even use the one that comes in the freezer section of my grocery store. I mean, the layering, and the buttering/oiling of every layer, the need to make so many layers, the keeping the phyllo you are not using moist as you are building layers. Forget it! I will do it time to time to make baklava or tyropites (cheese pies) and don’t get me wrong, I love phyllo. But it’s not something I want to do very often. So I make my spanakopitas with puff pastry.
This may have started as an easy way out, but let me tell you that it’s possible I now prefer spanakopita this way. Of course, for me it’s also a nice change of pace since I usually eat the phyllo version my family makes. Tom just prefers the puff pastry over all. In fact, he has been begging to to make these for months and months. I don’t make them very often because I can eat 10 in one sitting. This is no joke, people! I decided to freeze half the batch before baking them off this time (without the egg brush), to help me out a little in that department.
For a more authentic spanakopita, you can certainly make the recipe below with phyllo, or just double the recipe to make a standard spanakopita filling.
Puff Pastry (Cheater’s) Spanakopita
Makes 18 spanakopita triangles
a little olive oil
1/2 cup sliced leeks or about 1/4 cup diced onion
fresh dill, to taste
fresh parsley, to taste (you can tell this recipe is very technical)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach (right around 1 bunch)
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper
1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry dough, thawed
Preheat oven to 375.
In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks or onions and saute until tender. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. The spinach will start to wilt down, but not much.
Meanwhile, roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner and then cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.
To the spinach mixture (you can move it to a bowl if you like), add the feta, parsley, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Beat one egg and add that into the mixture.
Spoon about 1-2 Tbsp. of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Brush the sides of the square with a little water and then being 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle. Press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.