The Recipe: Spring Spanakopita
It’s time to start using all those lovely leaves we have available at our fingertips at this time of year. The addition of fennel and goats cheese makes this pastry decadent and delicious. Make it the day before you need it and keep it chilled. To reheat, bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until warmed through.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x 170g bags watercress, rocket and spinach
1 x 260g bag spinach
1 x 250g tub ricotta
150g hard goats’ cheese (we used St Helen’s Farm), coarsely grated
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 x 270g pack Jus-Rol filo pastry
75g butter, melted
- Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan or casserole (with a lid), gently cook the onion and fennel, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, and then transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Return the pan to the heat, add 1 bag of mixed leaves and 1-tablespoon water, cover with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring once, until wilted. Transfer to a colander and leave in the sink while you repeat with the remaining bags of mixed leaves and spinach. Then squeeze all the leaves through the colander to remove as much water as possible. Transfer to a board and roughly chop.
- Add the ricotta, goats’ cheese and plenty of freshly grated nutmeg to the bowl with the onion. Add the chopped leaves and combine well. Season well to taste, then mix in the beaten egg.
- Lightly grease a 20cm round deep spring form cake tin. Remove the filo pastry from its packaging and cover with a damp tea towel (keeping it covered as you work). Take a sheet at a time, brush all over with melted butter then lay in the tin, so it covers the base and overhangs the sides. Take another sheet, brush with butter and lay on top, overlapping the sheet already in place, repeat with 3 of the remaining sheets until the tin is lined – you should have one sheet left over.
- Spoon the filling into the tin and level. Fold the overhanging filo into the middle. Finally top with the remaining sheet, gently scrunching it to create folds, brush with the remaining butter. Transfer to a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, transfer to a board and slice into wedges. Serve warm with a lightly dressed seasonal salad leaves – it’s also tasty cold.