It is just me or are phyllo dough recipes popping up everywhere during this holiday season?
I swear. They’re everywhere.
For the longest time, I have to admit, phyllo dough has intimidated me. I’d see people buying it all the time at the grocery store I worked at, assuming these lovely people were going to go off and make some delicious Greek spanikopita dish for dinner because that was the only thing I thought you could use phyllo dough for. And I was envious. And, like I said, intimidated. I wanted to make spanikopita SO BADLY but for some reason couldn’t bring myself to purchasing two-hundred tons of fresh (or frozen) spinach, a fat block of feta, and this phyllo dough stuff.
So in the meantime, I just bought the frozen version already made to go into my oven from Trader Joe’s. Thank you, TJ’s. I love you.
Well, anyway, about a month ago, I found a great recipe to make an appetizer involving pumpkin (out of that lovely pumpkin recipe book I raved about not too long ago), phyllo dough, peanut butter, mango chutney, and curry paste. They sounded too good to be true. So I made them for a Halloween party. They definitely turned out delicious, a little pain in the butt to make because of the phyllo dough, but so worth it.
And then I had trillions of phyllo sheets leftover that I wasn’t sure what to do with.
So I stuck them in the freezer, and a few weeks later, I came upon this wonderful recipe from the NY Times that caught my eye: a Greek Pumpkin and Leek Pie.
Oh my gosh. YUM! Pumpkin, leek, feta, herbs, and phyllo dough! Sounds like a pimped out pumpkinized version of spanikopita that would be so much more amazing. Of course I modified it a bit. Only had one leek on hand so I used frozen spinach, and didn’t want to peel and roast an entire pumpkin so I used part pumpkin puree from a can, frozen winter squash puree, and roasted a few pieces of a buttercup squash. OMG.
Admittedly, the phyllo dough still isn’t my best friend. But that’ll come with time. It’s a gradual relationship. Regardless, it turned out delicious and as good as I had hoped. Would be a great vegetarian main dish for any time this fall/winter.
This is my new favorite.
I still have about 15 sheets of dough left though. Help! Help me find something to do with it. Please?
Oh and of course I pimped it out with an amazing winter salad cause that’s how I roll.
Mache salad greens, roasted parsnips, avocado, green beans, persimmon, and pomegranate.
Greek Leek, Winter Squash & Spinach Pie
(It’s better than spanikopita!!! I’m telling you!)
Makes approximately 8-10 servings
Adapted from NY Times “Greek Pumpkin and Leek Pie” recipe
2 1/2 pounds of a combination of pumpkin and squash puree, and roasted buttercup squash chunks
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green part only, cleaned and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup dried dill (or fresh if you have it)
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 jumbo eggs, beaten (or 3 large eggs)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
12 sheets phyllo dough
1. Combine all the squash in a bowl, mash with a fork (I left a few chunks of the buttercup whole). Stir in the herbs, nutmeg and feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan. Add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until tender and just beginning to color, five to 10 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant for a few minutes and until the water from the frozen spinach slightly evaporates. Remove from the heat, and add to the pumpkin. Beat the eggs, and stir into the pumpkin mixture.
3. Brush a 10- or 12-inch tart pan or cake pan with olive oil and layer in seven sheets of phyllo dough. Place them not quite evenly atop one another, so that the edges overlap the sides of the pan all the way around. Brush each sheet with olive oil (or a mixture of olive oil and melted butter) before adding the next sheet. Fill with the pumpkin mixture, and fold the edges over. Brush the folded-over phyllo with olive oil, then layer five more sheets of dough over the top, brushing each with olive oil (or a combination of melted butter and olive oil). Crimp the edges into the sides of the pan. Pierce the top of the pie in several places with a sharp knife. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recrisp the crust if necessary in a low oven for 10 to 20 minutes.