I have been wanting to write this post for ages but I have simply been too busy with work. But here it is, finally. This spectacular-looking pie came to me a few years ago through my lovely friend Anna, who posted about it on her blog. I just had to give it a go, and it turned out perfect.
It’s a recipe that’s always stuck in the back of my mind but that I somehow never got round to making again. Not eating dairy or eggs now, I thought it would be the sort of thing I could only crave, not have, but then I made this vegan version with the help of another lovely friend, Tatjana. She gave me the recipe for a Lebanese spinach pie with a gorgeous, tangy spinach filling that is perfect for this Greek casing, made with olive oil and white wine.
So without further ado, and with many thanks to my two foodie friends, I give you a vegan ray of sunshine. This tastes amazing, and it is so easy to make that I’m almost embarrassed to accept compliments about its looks (please note that I did say ‘almost’).
For the dough
500 g plain flour
90 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 ml warm white wine (not sure how essential using warm wine is, but so far I’ve followed this instruction)
2 level tsp salt
For the filling
1 onion, finely chopped and sautéed till soft
675 g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (squeezed) really well.
70 g semi-dried tomatoes, oil squeezed out, roughly chopped
1 level tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp sumac
black pepper, to taste
50 g pine nuts, toasted
– Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius.
– Mix all the ingredients for the dough and knead until you have a smooth dough. (This dough does not require long kneading, so I just use my hands). Put in a bowl and cover with cling film.
– Mix all the ingredients for the filling, using your hands, distributing the ingredients evenly (pulling clumps of squeezed spinach apart).
– Divide the dough into two halves and roll them out to two 30 cm circles.
– Place one dough circle on a sheet of baking paper on a chopping board.
– Put some of the filling in the centre of the circle, and place the rest of it around it in a circle (see photo).
– Lightly wet the edges of the dough and the dough in between the two portions of filling with water (using a cooking brush).
– Cover with the second dough circle and place a bowl (or something else that fits) over the covered mound of filling in the middle (see photo). Press down gently with your fingers around the edges of the bowl to make sure that the dough sticks together there.
– Press the outer edges of the circle together, using a fork. You can cut off bits of dough that stick out to make a neater circle after crimping.
– Using a sharp(!) knife (very important) cut from the rim of the bowl to the edges of the circle, creating rays (or petals, or whatever you see in them). I cut them about 3 cm apart but I really just go by eye. A lot of rays gives a nicer visual effect.
– Turn the rays 90 degrees, being careful to not tear them off.
– Transfer the spanakopita on its baking parchment to a baking tray (careful, you may have cut up the parchment a bit with your knife).
– Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.