Leland tackles spanakopitaLeland tackles spanakopita

Tonight I followed mom’s example and made Craig Claiborne’s “Spinach-Feta Strudel,” also known as spanakopita, one of my favorite treats.

It took trips to FreshDirect and four grocery stores before I found phyllo dough. FD has none, Gristedes and d’Ag both had shells and other crap, and Whole Foods’s was $10. On my way home today, I ducked into Citarella on 6th Avenue, and lo and behold, there was an ample supply of Kronos brand phyllo dough for $2.99 per package. I had all of the other ingredients at home, so I picked up a few sausages and some pita bread, which ended up in the freezer, because who needs bread when you have 24 layers of dough in your dinner.

I’ve never spent so much time brushing butter on dough, but boy, did those layers ever puff up into crispy, buttery glory!

After letting it rest for five minutes, as instructed, I managed to extract a somewhat presentable piece.

Of course it got easier by the time Nathan went for seconds; it’s just hard to wait when you’ve been baking something for an hour and it’s already 9 PM.

Am I allowed to make two layers of filling, each surrounded by eight layers of dough? I’m not sure what the layering etiquette is here, but it seems like you’d have a moister, more manageable product with a second layer of filling.


It’s not a question of etiquette, but I don’t think it would puff up enough with only 8 layers of dough. You might like to try the triangle version, where you only layer a couple of sheets, then put a spoonful of filling and fold the whole thing like a flag. Ayun actually gives fairly explicit directions at the end of one of her chapters in the bookstore copy of Sugar Cookies. Sounds like a lot of work to me, but if you had 2 people doing it, it would be a nice appetizer or cocktail snack.

That’s impressive looking. Especially for a first effort.

I agree with Rebecca-the middle wouldn’t puff up enough…but you could make 2 thinner ones, and stack them after cooking, for a puffy and layered effect, eh? I think yours looks just fine as is though.

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