This recipe card screams 1980 something. I mean, check out that “Say Cheese” font!
Grandma Joyce made this on April 1st, 1985 and gave it a “good”. I’m starting to wish that she would have been a little more descriptive in these notes. Maybe I should take that advice to heart with my own recipe note taking!
I always love having an excuse to work with filo dough. It feels fancy and the texture is so unique. So here we go…
Spicy Spinach Pie
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
2 10-oz. packaged frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup green onion, leek or onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb filo dough
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp pepper
generous pinch of nutmeg
optional hot sauce or chili powder*
1/4+ cup butter, melted**
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Over medium heat saute carrots for 4-5 minutes. Then add onions and mushrooms. Saute until tender.
Squeeze spinach to get out as much moisture as possible then combine with cottage cheese, parmesan and herbs.
In a deep pie dish begin layering the buttered filo dough in the pan. (I’ll add filo directions at the end if you’re a rookie.) Alternating directions to make sure the whole base is covered by the first half of the filo.
Layer 1/2 of the spinach mixture, the vegetables and then the other 1/2 of the spinach on top. Begin covering the top with the remaining buttered filo layers, again alternating directions.
Fold all of the overhanging filo back over the pie gently, brush with butter then bake for 25-40 minutes, or until golden.
*The recipe doesn’t have any kick, just lots of spices. (I think that’s what they meant when they said spicy.) So if you want a bit of extra kick you can add an extra dash with one of those when you add the rest of the spices.
**You may only need 1/4 cup, but it could be more. Just start there and melt more as needed for the filo dough.
Culinary School 101: Filo Dough
Filo Dough can be intimidating, but once you’ve done it, you’ll know all of the tricks. Filo is like a tissue paper thin piece of pastry dough. Each layer is quickly buttered or oiled in between the next making an amazingly flaky crust. (This is what is used in spanakopita and baklava.)
Before you open your filo have your butter melted, a pastry brush and a damp (almost dry) dish towel (flour sack is best) ready to go.
Open the thawed dough and lay it flat. Lightly butter the first piece (Be quick, don’t worry about covering the whole thing, 1/2 coverage is sufficient) Then lay it in the pan. repeat with the next continuing to alternate filo, butter, filo, butter. Act fast as the dough will dry out quickly. When you are adding the filling, or if you have to walk away for a minute make sure you drape the cloth over the remaining dough so it doesn’t dry out. If a piece rips, use it anyway, the strength is in the layers so don’t worry about the rough edges, they’re what give filo character!
Peel, and slice thinly. I cut mine in half because they were pretty hefty carrots.
Chop the green onions…
Saute them over medium until al dente. You do not want them to be mushy!
Slice up the mushrooms and add them to the saute pan with the carrots and onions. Cook quickly over medium high.
While the mushrooms are cooking mix the remainder of the filling ingredients together at once.
Get everything set up and then open up your filo.
Butter that first piece, like I said before, be sloppy, just a few strokes back and forth with the pastry brush.
Lay your first piece down, butter again and then lay it down the opposite direction. Keep rotating the pieces to make a “solid” crust.
Remove the mushrooms from the heat when they’re slightly softened.
Place 1/2 of the spinach filling into the crust…
…then add the carrots…
…and another layer.
Time for the top. Same thing, butter each layer and then rotate the pieces.
Once the last piece is on, brush the center with another layer of butter and then fold the overhanging filo back over the top.
Lightly pat it down and brush the top with butter. Then bake!
Look at that golden, crispy, flaky filo.
I loved this recipe with minor adjustments but the options are endless. You can go sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, italian sausage, _fill in the blank . Which route are you going to take?