There are times when I really miss my mother’s cooking. She makes spinach pie like this but she rolls out her own phyllo and she also makes her own cheese for the filling. Although my mother is a great cook, she has absolutely no patience when it comes to teaching so I never learned how to roll out my own phyllo nor how to make cheese. 😦 Fortunately for us non-rollers, phyllo can be found in the freezer section of many supermarkets and there are suitable substitutes for homemade cheese like a mix of cottage and feta cheeses.
This dish goes by many names in the Mediterranean. In Albania, it’s called Byrek. In Kosova, it’s Burek. In Turkey, it’s Borek or Bourek. In Greece, it’s Spanikopita.
I adapted a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for my version of this savory spinach and cheese pastry. Recipe after the jump.
Spinach and Cheese Phyllo Rolls
Makes about 10 rolls
To keep phyllo sheets from drying out, cover them with either plastic wrap or two dish towels. Place a dry towel directly over the phyllo, then cover the dry towel with a damp towel.
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 green onions, chopped
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach. thawed and squeezed dry
4 to 6 ounces domestic feta cheese, crumbled
1 to 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound phyllo, thawed
4 Tablespoons butter, melted and 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix spinach, feta, cottage cheese and egg in medium bowl. Add cooked onions and season with salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove one phyllo sheet. With the shortest end of the phyllo sheet nearest you, brush phyllo with butter and oil mixture; top with second sheet and brush again. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the bottom nearest you. Fold up the phyllo once and then fold over the right side and then the left side of the phyllo. Brush with butter/oil mixture and then continue rolling up like a burrito.
- Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and brush rolls with butter/oil mixture. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.