So, we’re at that point in the moving phase, where we’re starting to look at pre-move bucket lists : things we want to do here, before moving to Canada.
For me, that means spending time with friends when possible. For my husband – who grew up here – it’s more things like going to the State Fair, Valley Fair, etc one last time. Also: Have me create a great Spinach Pie recipe. There’s a great local Lebanese deli – Emily’s – that makes spinach pies that he adores.
While we’d usually go for a direct replica when it comes to something like this, he decided he preferred to have a bit of fun with it, developing a custom filling. So, if you’re looking for an Emily’s knockoff, this is not the recipe you’re looking for! (It is definitely in the same ballpark, though.)
To adjust it a bit more to my husband’s tastes, there is more filling than in the source material, as well as flavour additions like kalamata olives. Ours features an egg glaze, giving the outside of the crust a bit of sheen, and a bit of bite/crunch. For a softer finished crust, skip the egg glaze.
Makes 6 large hand pies
1 cup warm – not hot – water
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
4 packets frozen chopped spinach (40 oz total), defrosted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 oz crumbled feta
3 Tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 oz pine nuts, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp water
Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl: combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Add sour cream, olive oil, and eggs; mix well to combine.
Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, make your filling:
Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach, set aside.
In a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add spinach and garlic, stir well to combine, cook over medium heat until liquid is completely gone. Remove from heat.
Stir in feta, olives, dill, pine nuts, lemon zest, and nutmeg, stirring until well combined. Add yogurt, stir until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out. We divided the mixture into 6 equally sized balls, – but you can make them smaller by dividing into 8 sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 350 , line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stretch each dough ball into a round, approximately 8″ diameter. Scoop about 3/4 cup of filling into the center (1/2 cup, if making smaller ones), and fold the edges in to make a triangle, as shown below:
Gently flatten each pie out to about 1″ thick.
Once you have all of your pies formed, set them on lined baking sheets to rise for another 10 minutes.
Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each hand pie. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve warm or room temperature, with tzatziki dip, if desired. (I have a great recipe for it in More Than Poutine!). Wrap any unused pies in plastic and chill until use.