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Spanakopita—the buttery Greek comfort dish of flaky phyllo dough filled with cheese and greens, can be made as one large savory pie, or, folded up and baked into crispy little triangle hand pies as we’ve done. Although usually prepared with spinach, onion and feta cheese, in the Greek countryside lemony sorrel is sometimes a flavorful addition. With a garden full of sorrel, I decided this recipe should include it. If you prefer, you can omit the sorrel and double up on the spinach. Either way, the result is delicious.
To fold the filling into the little triangular packets, you’ll follow several steps:
1. Cut the thawed phyllo pastry sheets into six stacks of 3″ x 14″ strips. Remove the top strip from the first stack; brush with butter and lay flat on clean surface. Place second strip on top of first and butter, creating a buttered two-strip stack.
2. Place a spoon of the filling onto the bottom left corner of the buttered-strip stack. Fold over to the right, creating a small triangle.
3. Flip and fold the triangle as if folding a flag to finish the triangular packet.
4. Place buttered triangle onto parchment lined sheet pan. Make and add the rest of the triangles and bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until deeply golden.
Spanakopita Triangles (Spinach Sorrel + Cheese Pies)
- 2 large bunches fresh spinach, stems and spines removed/discarded, leaves should fill a large stockpot to the 5 quart level
- Five quarts fresh sorrel leaves (NOTE: If omitting the sorrel, use 4 total bunches of spinach to make 10 quarts of spinach leaves)
- 1 bunch green onions, green parts only, chopped to make ¾ cup
- 1 medium onion OR 1 leek (light green/yellow/white parts only) diced to make 1 cup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- ½ cup pine nuts
- Finely grated zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 lb. package frozen phyllo dough sheets (14 x 18 inches), thawed
- 1 cup butter, melted
- In a large stock pot, add olive oil and onion and cook over medium-low heat until very soft.
- Add spinach leaves to reach the five-quart line of the stock pot, stir and cook until spinach wilts/cooks down to fill one inch of the pot. Do not overcook. Add sorrel to the pot, stir and cook until reduced to the lower third of the pot. Cooked, you will have exactly 4 cups of the sorrel/spinach/onion mixture.
- Line a colander with layers of clean fabric or paper toweling. Spoon the sorrel/spinach/onion mixture into the lined colander. Gather up the toweling and squeeze to remove moisture.
- Once moisture is removed, finely chop the cooked sorrel/spinach mixture and place in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs, crumbled feta, grated parmesan pine nuts, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix together.
- Cover two baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cover a clean work surface with plastic wrap. Unroll the thawed phyllo dough sheets to make a 14 x 18 rectangle. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut stack of phyllo sheets into six, three-inch-wide stacks. You will now have six, 3 x 14 stacks of phyllo sheets. Cover five of the stacks with aplastic wrap and a lightly dampened kitchen towel. Working with the first stack, lift the top sheet of phyllo dough onto your work surface. Lightly brush strip with melted butter. Top buttered strip with a second strip of the phyllo dough. Brush second strip with melted butter. Starting at the left bottom corner of the two-sheet buttered strip you have created, place a spoon full of the filling. Pull the bottom left corner of the phyllo dough stack to the right, creating a triangular shape. Fold this to the left edge of the dough stack and continue flipping and folding (as if folding a flag) until you have folded the entire strip into a triangular bundle. Tuck any raw edges under. Brush top with butter. Place triangle on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat to make the rest of the triangles. Bake in 350 oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Note: Unbaked triangles can be wrapped well and frozen to prepare later. If baking from frozen, add an additional 10 minutes to the baking time.
- Note: If you find making the triangles too tiresome, cut phyllo to the shape of a baking dish. Butter and stack 7 to 10 sheets of the cut phyllo in the bottom of the dish. Spread filling over. Top with additional buttered sheets of phyllo. Bake for 1 hour at 350 until golden brown.
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