Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spanakopita with Home made Pastry....

I must admit that ever since I came back from our holiday to Asia in September October, I haven't been cooking or baking as much as I used to.

I haven't been well, on and off sick, and spring time is usually the worst time for me as I've got allergy to grass seeds.  I haven't been trying out as many recipes I'd love to try out and sometimes I'm grumpy because I'm lack of energy to make good food - I still cook every day, bake bread every week, but nothing exciting, make sure the family is fed, and very simple cooking.  I haven't even been making as much pasta as I used to.  Ah, the high lights have been the daring cook & baker challenges...

However, I did tell hubby I want to make spanakopita from scratch today. Well, I wouldn't call that a lot of cooking, as it's a very light meal, vegetarian, nothing heavy.   The only fun is probably making the pastry from scratch.  I've always liked the spanakopitas, from bakeries, markets, it's a pie that's good enough for warmer weather or the cool, eat on the run and for me, most of all, it's vegetarian and it's not heavy.  I do cook a lot of meat dishes for the family, but I myself, don't like meat at all. 

We need the normal ingredients for a common spanakopita, I don't have a lot of imaginations coming to the fillings:

Spinach (I've used silverbeet before, but this time, English spinach.)
Olive oil
Dill (only several sprigs)
blanched almond (pine nuts are better, but I've only got almon on hand)
Greek Feta
2 Cloves of garlic

200g plain flour
100ml water
pinch of salt
Olive oil (hmm I didn't measure)

However, I did think the dough is too soft and probably 80ml of water is enough.

Made the dough in the morning as we went out for shopping and the dough needed to be rested.... came back home after shopping, would've been too late.

Lightly toast the almonds in pan.  Set aside.

Saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil, add in roughly chopped spinach (it could've been chopped finer, most shops won't leave them this rough, but I like texture so kept it very rough), add in a knob of butter, some cracked black pepper, juice of 1/4 of a lemon and sea salt flakes, and zest of a lemon.  Leave it in colander and drain as much juice out as possible.

I used the pasta maker to roll out the dough into 4 sheets and stretched them on a lightly floured bench.... brushed with melted butter (clarified butter) and layed one sheet on the other (4 sheets will give me 2 big pies, about 20cms in diametre).

When the fillings is cooled, add the fillings to the stretched thin pastry, add on loads of feta (I didn't add too much salt when cooking the spinach as feta is usually quite salty) and roasted almonds. 

*here comes the first mistake today, the egg, forgot the egg, didn't I bring it out and listed in the ingredients?

Roll up the pastry, brush on more butter at closing, and curl them up like snakes...

*here comes mistake number 2 today.  Probably because I just baked a batch of sourdough buns yesterday, I put the unbaked spanakopitas on the floured baking tray where I normally bake sourdoughs or pizzas.  Silly old me, it should've been a lightly greased tray....

Anyway, they were brushed on with more butter and egg wash, and baked in 190C oven for approximately 35-40 minutes?  I have been checking the oven, however as I haven't been following recipes today, I just bake as I go....  one of those days, no recipe, do whatever mode I guess?

It seems like the spanakopitas survived the bread trays and I'm please to see that my pastry is thin and crispy enough (on the outside of course).

Not sure if it'd pass the taste test of my Greek neighbour?

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