Spanakopita Nistisimi (lenten Spinach Pie)

  • on May 17, 2007
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Ingrients & Directions

1 lb Curly endive
3 lb Fresh bulk spinach
-washed, large stems removed
3 bn Large scallions
– white and green chopped
– together
5 tb Fruity olive oil
1 Lemon
1 1/2 c Finely chopped fresh dill
1 ts Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tb Rice or cracked wheat

1 1/2 c All-purpose flour
Extra flour for rolling
1 ts Sea salt
1 ts Baking powder
5 tb Olive oil (about)
1 tb Sesame seeds

Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour with the salt and baking
powder. Mix in about 6 tablespoons water, a little at a time, until
the dough is gooey, but not wet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus
another teaspoonful, and a little more flour, if needed, to make a
cohesive mass. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and
elastic. Cover it and set aside to relax for an hour or two.

For the filling, separate the curly endive leaves, so the vegetable
will cook in the same time. Steam the spinach and endive together in
a large pan, in the water clinging to the leaves, plus just an extra
1/2 cup. Turn the leaves over occasionally, so they wilt evenly. When
they are wilted, but not mushy, drain them in a colander, pressing
firmly with the back of a wooden spoon to remove as much excess
liquid as possible. (Reserve the liquid for use in soup, or drink
with a squeeze of lemon juice, as the Greeks do.)

Saute the scallions in 2 tablespoons olive oil, until barely soft.
Add a few tablespoons of water if they stick to the pan. Roughly chop
the cooked spinach and curly endive and finely grate the zest from
the lemon. Then toss the cooked vegetables with the scallions,
parsley, dill, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, and
pepper, adding 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside until you are ready
to fill the pastry.

Choose an ovenproof earthenware or glass baking dish 2 to 2-1/2
inches deep and about 2-quart capacity and brush the inside with oil.
Divide the pastry into two unequal parts, and then again into halves.
On a floured surface roll out one of the larger pieces of pastry.
This should be large enough to line the dish, coming up and over the
sides – this should make it very thin. Fit it into the baking dish
and brush it with olive oil. Do the same with the second piece of
pastry, placing it on top of the first, and brush again with olive

Sprinkle the tablespoon of rice or cracked wheat over the bottom, to
soak up excess juices, and fill with the spinach and herb mixture.
Roll out the remaining two pieces of pastry, separately, to fit the
top of the dish. Place the first on top of the spinach, brush with
olive oil, then place the second on top of that. Prick the pastry
with a fork in an attractive pattern and brush the entire top with
olive oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in an oven preheated to
350 F for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.

8 Servings

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