Spanakopita or in this case it is also called spanakotyropita, as it has a lot more cheese than usual, is one of the best pitas we Greeks make and there are even different types of phyllo used for this pita. My family prefers a pie with more crust than spinach so I always make the phyllo called strifti, meaning twisted, from its shape, so each piece you get is like getting a nice crunchy phyllo like those we always try to find in one of the corners of the baking tin.
In the villages they used to have these huge round baking tins called “sini – plural sinia” which used to be made of copper, much more shallow than ordinary baking tins and decorated with beautiful patters.
The word “sini” is is a word which is tending to disappear from the Greek vocabulary as sinia have been replaced by tapsi(a). In Cyprus however, whose official language is Greek, a dialect is spoken with ancient Greek roots and many of the words we use in our every day conversation have similar words. In Cyprus we do not say tapsi we say sini.
Of course in many Greek villages these type of sinia are still used but of course they are neither made of copper nor decorated and of course do not fit in our domestic ovens. When prepring the spanakopita, after rolling the phyllo they put the spinach on one side of a big round phyllo and then make a roll, give it a few twists and starting from the centre, give it a spiral shape until all the “sini” is full and then bake it in outdoor ovens. I adopted this idea after seeing it on a T.V. program some years back and made it to fit in my rectangular baking tin but also making good use of the phyllo machine.
(Extra Cheesy Spanakopita strifti, village type phyllo)
- 750 grams fresh spinach washed, rinsed and squeezed
- 1 bunch (5-6) spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup of finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup anthotyro cheese
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup of graviera cheese
- 1 cup of halloumi cheese
- Freshly ground black peper
- 1 fresh cream (light) (optional)
- Dough (double dose)
- To begin with you have to prepare the dough (see step by step instructions here) and leave it to rest for at least half an hour, covered by a clean napkin.
- Then grate the graviera and halloumi and crumble the feta and anthotyro.
- Wash spinach and all other herbs. Place spinach in a big bowl and sprinkle salt over it and leave it for half an hour so that all the unnecessary juices may be easily squeezed away.
- When this is done, add all the herbs finely chopped as well as the eggs, cheese, oil (saving some to oil tin and pie on top), the pepper and fresh cream. Mix all of them well.
- Roll out the phyllo and put some filling on one side and roll it over making sure that the two ends stick so that it will not empty when giving it a twist.
- When done, brush the phyllo with oil and place in an oiled tin.
- Bake it in a preheated oven at 180 ο centigrade, until a nice golden colour is achieved (about 1 hour).