Christmas has always been a very important holiday for my family. I've been living abroad for many years, as has my only sister. At Christmas, we used to all meet at my parents' home in Greece and spent endless hours cooking, sharing and spending time together. This year, my sister and her family are visiting us in the US (that's her on the right!) and we decided to honor our mom by making her legendary spanakópita from scratch, dough included! We even filled one small corner just with cheese, because one of our kids doesn't like spinach, exactly like our grandmother used to do for us. I hope you will enjoy our family treasure and that you, too, will try it - it will not disappoint you!
For the dough
330 ml sparkling water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp salt
For the filling
1 lb frozen whole-leafed spinach
a bunch of scallions sliced
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
12 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the dough
Slice the butter and put in a bowl with the flour.
Slowly add the sparkling water, mix and knead until the dough is homogenous. Roll it into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap, putting it in the refrigerator to chill for two hours.
Prepare the spinach
Thaw the spinach and squeeze with your hands to get rid of the excess water. Mix in a bowl the spinach, scallions, herbs, feta, half-and-half and the eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste, but watch the salt, as the feta will add some saltiness to your filling. Set aside.
Put it all together!
Warm your oven to 400F.
Divide the dough in two and roll out the first ball with a rolling pin to just larger than the size of a 9x12 baking dish.
Brush the dish with some olive oil and lay the first sheet of dough in the pan, leaving a little extending up the sides of the dish.
Add your filling and distribute evenly.
Roll out the second ball of dough and lay it over the filling, pinching the edges of the two layers to make a nice frame.
Using a sharp knife, cut your spanakópita in square pieces and brush with some olive oil.
Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50 minute to an hour until the spanakopita is golden. Serve it warm or cold it is equally yummy!
PS We didn't use salt in the filling because the feta can be very salty, if you are using a different type of cheese add some extra salt to taste.
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