Posts Tagged ‘spanakopita’

This past weekend, my friend Craig came to visit my roomate Katie and me in Halifax.  After spending a lovely day wandering the Seaport Market and Spring Garden Road, we were craving flaky and cheesy spanakopita.   Unsurprisingly, we ran out of spinach filling before phyllo, so inspired by frozen berries in the freezer, we decided to make bumbleberry tarts.  The filling was berrilicious and the tarts crispy.  I confess I still have a slight preference for flaky pastry, (or filling the phyllo cups with salmon mousse), but this was a tasty way to ensure we did not waste any phyllo sheets!

The phyllo cups can be made a day ahead if once cooled, they are stored in an airtight container.

Phyllo Bumbleberry Tarts

(makes 20 tarts)


4 sheets phyllo pastry

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups frozen mixed berries, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons peach or apricot jam

1/4 cup sugar + 1 extra teaspoon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rind from one orange


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lay a sheet of the phyllo on a clean surface.  Brush the top with the melted butter.  Place another sheet on top of the first, and brush it with butter.  Repeat with the remaining two sheets.  Sprinkle the top phyllo sheet with a teaspoon of sugar. Cut the phyllo into 16-20 squares and press each into a tart pan.  Bake for five minutes or until the phyllo is goldon (watch them carefully!)

Meanwhile, stir berries, jam, and sugar together.  Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Taste and adjust for your preferred sweetness. In a small cup, mix the cornstarch with some of the berry juice.  Whisk into bumbleberry filling and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until thickened.  Grate in as much orange rind as desired.  Allow the filling to cool.

Before serving, spoon the filling into the phyllo cups. Bon appetit!

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To celebrate the year’s end, my health policy seminar held a movie night Friday.  We watched a classic Quebecois film, La grade seduction (or, Seducing Dr. Lewis).  Filled with quirky Canadian humour, it is a film that melts your heart.  You cannot help but to be charmed by the villagers in Marie-la-Mauderne, and yet it also has real substance, a commentary on the plight of rural Canada’s attempt to lure and retain doctors under often difficult circumstances.

For an appetizer, I brought spanakopita.  I’ve been craving these ever since I went to Niche lounge for dinner in Halifax last month and had their trio of phyllos appetizer.  On offer was the trio of olive & feta, creamy artichoke, and sun-dried tomato & spinach.  The phyllos were melt-in-your mouth crispy and bursting with flavour.  Three, however, merely whet my appetite.  And so I found myself making the more classic spanakopita Friday afternoon.

I love the creamy spinach filling wrapped in layers of crispy phyllo.  I always add extra dill, which complements the spinach so perfectly.  I remember making these for the first time years ago, scared to work with phyllo pastry.  But it is surprisingly easy, the trick being to keep the pastry moist at all times and not to be afraid of a making a few imperfections (or having your first attempts look more blob-like than triangle shaped pastries!).  And once you’ve mastered the phyllo, the sky is the limit on fillings: shrimp and ricotta to curried chicken to apples and cinnamon!


A moist towel is key for keeping the phyllo moist!

(24 triangles)


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 pound spinach, coarsely chopped

150 grams feta cheese

1 egg

1/3 cup finely chopped dill

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Phyllo pastry

Melted butter (about 2 tablespoons)


Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent.  Wilt the spinach until cooked through.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Crumble feta in a bowl.  Beat in egg and dill.  Stir in the spinach mixture, and season with salt and pepper.

Phyllo strips cut and ready to roll into triangles!

Roll the strips into triangles by gently folding them like a flag or sail

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  On a clean counter, spread the phyllo pastry and cover with a moist towel.  Lay a sheet of phyllo on the counter (making sure to keep any extra pastry covered), and brush it with butter.  Cover with a second sheet of phyllo.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into four long strips.  Place a spoonful of the spinach mixture near the bottom of each strip.  Fold the corner over, continuing to fold on the diagonal, resulting in a triangle.  Place the completed pastry on a baking sheet, and brush with the top with butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

These won’t last long, so best to eat them warm out of the oven!

– Catherine

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