Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quick and Easy Spanakopita Wheels

"The wheel is come full circle." - Shakespeare

When I visited Greece several years ago on a study abroad trip, Spanakopita pockets saved my life. During a three-week period, my fellow students and I were constantly on the move, visiting many archeological sites and museums, and did more walking in one day than we did in a week at college. Seeing as we were mostly out in the wilderness (with almost no civilization immediately nearby), our only chance of grabbing lunch was to nip into bakeries nearby the hotels where we stayed before getting on the bus, and buy some baked item to eat later on. Whereas most of my fellow students would just make do with a loaf of bread, I always wanted something with a bit more substance to it - enter Spanakopita.

This recipe makes a very close approximation to original Spanakopita, but in a pinwheel form rather than a pocket.

  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4-6 oz. Feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • egg wash (1 egg whisked together with a little water)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Thaw, rinse and thoroughly dry the spinach by wrapping it in paper towels and squeezing it over a sink. Place spinach in a medium bowl with Feta cheese, garlic, lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Carefully unroll the puff pastry sheet and roll out slightly on a floured surface with a rolling pin (be careful not to rip the dough, or let it become too thin). Spoon the spinach mixture onto the dough, and spread out evenly across the surface to within 1 inch of each edge. Roll carefully into a wheel, and seal the edge with egg wash. Seal the ends closed in the same way.
Slice the log into 1 1/2 inch wheels, lay on baking sheet evenly spaced and bake for 20-23 minutes, until golden brown at edges. Let cool.


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