Spanakopita Nistisimi (lenten Spinach Pie) Recipe

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Ingredients & 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 oil.

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

8 Servings

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