Greek Spinach Pie - The Recipe

Greek Spinach Pie

As taught to Lindsay Sterling February 2012 in Freeport, ME, by Bill Dilios, from a Greek village, Politsani, just inside the boarder of Albania.

Serves 10 for dinner, 20 as an appetizer
Cooking Time: 2 hours

* The day before serving, transfer filo and spinach from freezer to fridge. (If you forget, no worries, you just have to thaw the filo on the counter longer before you work with it.)
* An hour before cooking, transfer filo from fridge to counter.

1 box phyllo dough
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2" chunks
2 bunches scallions, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1/2 red onion, small dice
3 frozen blocks chopped spinach, thawed
16 ounces ricotta
16 ounces cottage cheese
16 ounces feta
1 boullion cube (Knoll brand preferred) or salt (optional)
3 eggs

1. Make the filling. Break up chopped spinach in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water and let sit. Saute scallions and red onion with 1 stick of butter, cut into chunks, for five minutes until limp but still green. Crush bouillon cube in there and incorporate. Strain spinach and squeeze all water out by squeezing bunches with your hands. Put in a large mixing bowl and mix sauted onions with ricotta, cottage cheese, crumbled feta, and three eggs.

2. Assemble the pie. Preheat oven to 395. Pour a cup of olive oil into a cereal bowl and get a pastry brush out. Bill made one pie in a giant deep dish pizza pan. It made about 20 small squares - 2 per person. Since I don't think anyone has a pan this big, I'm going to suggest you use two casserole dishes or three pie plates. (For smaller pies, I suggest cutting the recipe in half for a single 9x7 baking dish, or dividing the recipe by four and using a pie plate.) Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with olive oil. Layer whole filo sheets over bottom of baking dish, overlapping the edges of the pan by roughly 2 inches. (No folding, cutting or fussing -- overlapping is fine). Now be like Jackson Pollock with the brush and olive oil, dripping olive oil on the filo. No full coverage or brushing necessary. Just drips, like it's starting to rain. Make another layer of filo overlapping the edges again. Drizzle oil. Layer filo. Drizzle oil. When you have about five layers of phyllo, make a layer of spinach filling about 1/2" inch deep. Cover with two more layers of phyllo/oil drips. Add another layer of filling about 1/2" deep. Do five or six more layers of phyllo. Fold all the draped edges on top of the pie, brush olive oil onto the dry edges folding them down.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the temp down to 385 after ten minutes, until the entire pie is golden brown. Let it cool for 10-20 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cutting board with two spatulas. Cut pie into squares (a serrated bread knife works well) or wedges, depending on what look you want.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2012