Eleni Paliouras, a longtime subscriber and supporter of The National Herald, shared her recipe for homemade spanakopita.
Homemade Phyllo for Spanakopita
For making 8 sheets of phyllo:
4 to 4.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 to 1.5 cups lukewarm water
Cornstarch for rolling out pastry
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
In a large bowl, place flour and make a well. Add salt, oil, vinegar, and enough lukewarm water to form a medium dough. Knead well. Add more water to dough if necessary so the consistency of the dough is not too sticky or too soft. Divide into 8 balls, about the size of a small orange, flatten the dough balls and place on a cookie sheet floured with cornstarch. Cover with a clean cloth and let rest at room temperature at least a couple of hours or overnight.
Use a dowel stick (about 24 inches long and 1-inch thick) to roll out the dough round size to fit slightly beyond a 15-inch diameter-round aluminum pan. Place 4 phylla at the bottom, buttering each phyllo well. The first sheet should be a little larger to cover the sides of the pan.
For the filling:
3 (10 oz) pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 whole green onions, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or fresh dill
1 teaspoon cream of wheat
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
1.5 cups crumbled feta cheese
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing (listed above)
Drain spinach thoroughly in colander, squeezing out excess moisture. In a large skillet, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat till tender, stirring constantly. Add spinach, water, seasonings and herbs; cook till liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle cream of wheat over top; cool.
In a large bowl, combine eggs and cheese; stir into spinach mixture, blending well.
Assemble pita using 4 buttered phylla at the bottom. Add spinach filling and top with remaining 4 buttered phylla. With a sharp knife, slice through the top phylla only, for whatever size pieces are desired. Sprinkle top with drops of water. Bake at 360 degrees for about 60 minutes, or till golden brown.