Flakey Spinach, Feta & Sun Dried Tomato, Filo Pie

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spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

A delicious summer pie with crispy layers of flaky filo (phyllo) pastry and filled with my favourite cheese, feta and some little strips of sun-dried tomatoes! Great for brunch, lunch or dinner on a summer’s day or evening, served warm with a salad and maybe some nice, fresh crusty bread. It’s a lovely addition to a picnic and perfect for a pot-luck dinner.

I made spinach, feta and sun-dried tomato filo pies for years at the Cafe but they were singles and had cream added to the mix, so very tasty. I really, really, love sun-dried tomatoes with their intense, sharp flavour adding a taste of summer to any sandwich, salad or pie. I wanted to do a less fiddly pie here so I omitted the cream and made it spanakopita style. This is a reasonably quick pie to make if you use frozen spinach but a tad longer if using fresh (all that ‘destalking). It’s also an easy recipe to try if you’ve never used filo before, it’s pretty straightforward and fail proof. 🙂

GEEKY STUFF B’COS I’M A JUST A BIG NERD – Once upon a time the only means of preserving tomatoes was to salt them and drying them out naturally under the hot summer sun for several days. This drying out removes all of their water content, resulting in tomatoes that are deeper in colour and richer in taste. According to wikipedia it takes 8 to 14 kilos of fresh tomatoes to make just 1 kilogram of sun-dried tomatoes…..now I know why they are so expensive. Also good to know that compared with fresh, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes contain 20 percent more lycopene, an antioxidant associated with lower risk of certain cancers.

 

INGREDIENTS

400 grams fresh (weight includes stalks) or defrosted frozen spinach
125 grams cheddar cheese (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
125 grams feta (3/4 cup when crumbled)
5 large/10 small sun-dried tomatoes
8 eggs (any size)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small brown onion (or 1/2 medium sized)
1 medium clove garlic (or 2 small)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
50 grams butter
6 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry

 

Optional – 1 teaspoon black poppy seeds or 2 tablespoons grated parmesan

 

Serves 6

 

Notes

  • For this I used a 29 cm L x 19 cm W x 5 cm D ovenproof dish, any ovenproof dish will do as long as it’s approx the same size so that our cooking time is the same. If yours is smaller than mine but deeper you may need to cook it for a further 5 minutes to make sure it’s done in the centre. On the other hand, if your dish is a bit bigger than mine your pie won’t be as deep and may be ready 5 minutes sooner.
  • I know a few people who don’t like sun-dried tomatoes (this makes me really sad) so if you are one of them a handful of cherry tomatoes chopped in half is a nice, juicy replacement.
  • Unless you are a veggie gardener using frozen spinach is less expensive and a lot quicker but of course fresh is always nice. If you are using frozen you can skip the washing and wilting section of the walkthrough.
  • If you love parmesan you can throw a handful into the mixture also, it’s delish and if I had some spare in the fridge I would.
  • I prefer to use butter for flavour and even though traditionally filo is brushed with butter you can switch it to olive oil if you are trying to cut down on fat.

 

WALKTHROUGH

Getting started, remove the spinach leaves from the stalks. Wash them in a sink of cold water and then remove the plug.

pumpkin, spinach & feta muffins

Fill and boil your jug (kettle).

Place the leaves in a large bowl and just cover them in boiling water. Leave them submerged for 30 seconds and then…..

pumpkin, spinach & feta muffins

…..pour the spinach and water into a colander (or a large sieve) sitting in the kitchen sink and run some cold water through it until it’s cooled down.

pumpkin, spinach & feta muffins

Next using your hands squeeze most of the water out and then place it in the centre of a tea towel (a clean one of course!)

Wrap it up in the tea towel (like a vagabond’s bag) and then over the kitchen sink squeeze it through the tea towel, removing any remaining water.

pumpkin, spinach & feta muffins

Using a large knife, roughly slice or chop it up. Once done you can just leave it on the board.

  • If you are using frozen spinach you only need to wring it out in the tea towel and then chop it up…..nice ‘n’ easy!

Also, grate the cheese, crumble up the feta with your fingertips (or dice it up into little bits) and thinly slice up the sun-dried tomatoes and put it all aside with the spinach.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Now finely dice up the onion and the garlic and set them aside also.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Next, break all of the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together, making sure the yolks and whites are well combined.

Then take out 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg and place in a wee bowl to be used to glaze the top of the pie later.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

In a medium-sized pan over a medium heat, heat up the oil and one teaspoon of the butter.

Add the onions and stirring often saute them for 3 minutes or until they are soft and clear.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Add the garlic and the nutmeg and…..

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

…..continue cooking for1 more minute.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Add it along with the spinach, feta, grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and the salt and pepper to the bowl containing the beaten eggs and using a large spoon mix it all together.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Time to crank the oven up so place a rack just below the centre of the oven and preheat your oven to 160°C fan bake oven or 180°C conventional oven, on bake.

Now melt the butter in the microwave (around 40 seconds) or in a little saucepan.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the inside of your ovenproof dish with some of the melted butter and then set it aside.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Time to do the pastry. So take the filo from the box, unroll it and lay it out on a clean bench.

Carefully take 1 sheet from the top of the pile and lay it out on a board or the bench. Using the pastry brush lightly brush it all over with butter, working fast because it dries out fast.

  • If you haven’t worked with filo pastry before you may like to lay a damp (not wet) tea towel over the stack of filo that you are taking from because if it sits there for a long time it will dry out and go brittle. Also if some of it rips just patch it up, it’ll be fine.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Next carefully lay a second sheet on top of the one you just buttered and also brush that with butter. Lastly lay a third sheet on top and butter it too….so 3 sheets in total.

Then fold it all in half (this will create 6 layers) and…..

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

….. lay it in the bottom of the buttered dish. You can scrunch it up a bit to fit perfectly like I did but if it is flat that’s cool too.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Spoon the filling on top of the pastry and spread it out.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Repeat the buttering with 3 more sheets of filo, folding them in half again, creating 6 layers.

Lay the filo on top of the filling in the dish, scrunching it up again if you have to so that it covers the filling.

Roll up the remaining filo and rewrap it well before returning it to the fridge.

  • Another note, if you haven’t used filo before, make sure it is well wrapped before returning any remaining pastry to the fridge or it will go brittle. I pop it back in its bag and then wrap it with cling wrap too. 🙂

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Using the pastry brush now brush the top of the pie with that tablespoon of egg you set aside earlier.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

If using the grated parmesan or poppy seeds, now sprinkle them all over the top.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Pop it into the hot oven and bake it for 30 minutes or until it feels firm to touch in the centre and the pastry is a deep golden brown.

  • It’s better to overcook this pie than being worried and take it out to early. If underdone the egg won’t be cooked in the centre and the pastry will look insipid and not be as crispy as it could be. So my advice is that if you are even the slightest bit worried it’s not done, leave it for another 5 minutes. I always take my pastry things to the brink…..ever since my ‘threw out the apple tarts that I thought were burnt but were apparently perfect so yelled the French chef incident’.

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

I serve this pie warm with a nice green salad and sweet chilli sauce!

spinach, feta & sun dried tomato filo pie

Keepin’ it fresh – Good for up to 3 days if kept well wrapped in the fridge. To reheat; The microwave will cause the pastry to go soft (we can’t have that!) so I like to lay the leftover pie on some cooking foil and fold the foil up around the sides just leaving the top pastry exposed. I then heat it up on a lower temp like 150°C fan bake oven or 170°C conventional oven, on bake, until it’s warm.

How many nights a week do you enjoy ‘meat free’ meals?

 

Flakey Spinach, Feta & Sun Dried Tomato, Filo Pie

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: serves 6

Flakey Spinach, Feta & Sun Dried Tomato, Filo Pie

A vegetarian, flakey filo pie. Filled with spinach, feta and sun-dried tomatoes it makes a delicious light meal, picnic or pot-luck pie.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams fresh (weight includes stalks) or frozen spinach
  • 125 grams cheddar cheese (approx 1 1/2 cups)
  • 125 grams feta (3/4 cup when crumbled)
  • 5 large/10 small sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8 eggs (any size)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small brown onion (or 1/2 medium sized)
  • 1 medium clove garlic (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 50 grams butter
  • 6 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry

Instructions

  1. You will need a 29 cm L x 19 cm W x 5 cm D oven proof dish.
  2. If using frozen/defrosted spinach skip instructions 3 – 5.
  3. Remove the spinach leaves from the stalks and wash them in a sink of cold water.
  4. Place the leaves in a large bowl and cover them in boiling water, leave for 30 seconds.
  5. Drain the spinach into a colander and run some cold water through it to cool it down.
  6. Using your hands squeeze most of the water out and then place it in the centre of a tea towel.
  7. Wrap it up in the tea towel (like a vagabond's bag) and then over the kitchen sink squeeze it through the tea towel, removing any remaining water.
  8. Using a large knife, roughly slice or chop it up. Leave it on the board.
  9. Grate the cheese, crumble up the feta with your fingertips (or dice it up into little bits) and thinly slice up the sun-dried tomatoes and put it all aside with the spinach.
  10. Finely dice up the onion and the garlic and set them aside also.
  11. Break all of the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together until frothy. Remove 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg and place bowl to be used to glaze the top of the pie later.
  12. In a medium sized pan over a medium heat, heat up the oil and 1 teaspoon of the the butter.
  13. Add the onions and stirring often, sauté them for 3 minutes or until they are soft and clear. Add the garlic and the nutmeg and continue cooking for 1 more minute.
  14. Add it along with the spinach, feta, grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and the salt and pepper to the bowl containing the beaten eggs and using a large spoon mix it altogether.
  15. Place a rack just below the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake oven or 180°C conventional oven, on bake.
  16. Melt the butter in the microwave (around 40 seconds) or in a little saucepan.
  17. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the inside of the oven proof dish with some of the melted butter and then set it aside.
  18. Remove the filo from the box, unroll it and lay it out on a clean bench.
  19. Take 1 sheet from the top of the pile and lay it out on a board or the bench and using the pastry brush again, lightly brush it all over with butter, working fast because it dries out fast (you may like to lay a very well wrung out, damp tea towel over the stack of filo).
  20. Carefully lay a second sheet on top of the one you just buttered and also brush that with butter.
  21. Lay a third sheet on top and butter it too, making 3 sheets in total.
  22. Fold it all in half (this will create 6 layers) and lay it in the bottom of the buttered dish, scrunching it up a bit if you like.
  23. Spoon the filling into the dish on top of the pastry and spread it out.
  24. Repeat the buttering with 3 more sheets of filo, folding them in half again creating 6 layers.
  25. Lay the filo on top of the filling in the dish, scrunching it up again (if you have to) so that it covers the filling,
  26. Using the pastry brush again, brush the top of the pie with that tablespoon of egg set aside from earlier.
  27. If using the grated parmesan or poppy seeds, now sprinkle them all over the top.
  28. Place it into the oven and bake it for 30 minutes or until it feels firm to touch in the centre and the pastry is a golden brown.
  29. Serve warm with a salad and sweet chilli sauce.

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6 Comments:

  1. Hi, just have to say that this is a fantastic recipe.
    Made it for a garden party here in Oslo and it was a big hit. Thank you for sharing.

    • That’s so fantastic to hear Benedicta!! A Garden Party? How lovely! That would be the pie I would have chosen to make also and thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know it turned out well for you! 🙂

  2. Oh my, this looks absolutely delightful. All of those flakes!!!!! COME AT ME, PHYLLO!!!!!

    • Hi Kate, thanks for dropping by 🙂 Eating filo is similar to eating a crunchyy taco shell…..a little messy but delicious!

  3. I’ve been on the hunt for a good ‘ol spinach and feta filo pie – this looks perfect!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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