Culinary Connections | Albania Bosnia-Herzegovina Kosovo Greece Turkey France

Spinach Pies

Byrek me Spinaq/Pita Zeljanica

These traditional cheese and spinach filled filo pastry pies are ubiquitous throughout the Balkans, the Trans-Caucasus, down into the eastern Mediterranean.

The pies made in Bosnia-Herzengovnia and Kosovo are similar to the Albanian pies.

The Greek pie, containing milk, is lighter while the Turks have traditionally used butter instead of oil between the filo layers.

Tinned spinach purée is an option for this version if fresh spinach is not available.

1 kg spinach, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 ml olive oil
300 g Feta
250 g scallions/spring onions
2 eggs
Salt, large pinch

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with oil.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with oil before placing the next one on top.

Whisk cheese and egg together with 185 ml of oil and onions, pour this mixture into the tray.

Mix spinach and salt by hand, squeezing out any liquid, place on top of the cheese mixture.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Spanakotirópita

This is the Greek version.

1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 ml milk
375 ml olive oil
300 g Feta
300 g onions, chopped small
2 eggs
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
Salt, large pinch
Oil, for frying

Salt the spinach, sauté in a splash of oil a large frying pan over a high heat until it wilts, about three minutes, drain, leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into the base of a deep baking tray, repeat with remaining filo. Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay a filo sheet on top, brush with oil, repeat until the first pile is used up.

Return to the spinach, and using hands squeeze out all the liquid.

Whisk cheese, egg and milk together with all the seasonings, add 185 ml of oil, the onions and spinach. Pour this mixture into the tray.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Ispanakli Tepsi Böregi

This is the Turkish version.

1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 g onions, chopped
300 g butter
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Salt, large pinch

Sauté onions in 100 g of butter over a low heat for ten minutes, add the spinach and allow to wilt, season and leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with butter, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with butter.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with butter before placing the next one on top.

Spoon spinach mixture into the tray.

Place remaining sheets on top, brushing each one with butter.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with butter.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Mini Quiche au Fromage et aux Épinards

Compare the spinach pies of the eastern Mediterranean with those of France, especially these creamy mini quiche – products of master patissiers in Paris and not unknown in the provinces.
Fresh eggs and young spinach leaves are essential for their success.

250 g shortcrust pastry
250 g spinach, washed, stalks removed, cut thin
50 ml cream
2 eggs
65 g Emmental/Gruyére, chopped small
40 g Parmigiano, grated
Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
Salt, pinch
Pepper, pinch
Butter, for frying and greasing

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sauté spinach in butter over a high heat for three minutes, drain, retain liquid, leave spinach to cool.

Put spinach liquid in fridge.

Cut pastry into 12 rounds, place in moulds in a greased baking tray.

In a bowl, beat the egg with the cream, brush the pastry with a little of this mixture.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

The butter used to sauté will have harded and taken on a rich green colour, scoop this off the top of the spinach liquid, place in bowl with cream-egg mixture.

Add emmental, nutmeg and seasonings, stir, pour into pastry moulds.

Sprinkle with parmigiano.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Note: This quantity of ingredients made twelve 10 cm diameter mini quiche.


FRESH FRICOT | THE FRONT PAGE


EDITORIALS     EURO SNACKS     FOOD CONNECTIONS     FOOD STORIES     
GLOSSARY     HIGH FIVES     LEGENDARY DISHES     
RECIPES     REVIEWS     STREET MARKETS
Advertisements