Spinach and Feta triangles and Banana and Dark Chocolate parcels
February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
According to http://thebaklavaguy.com/history.htm the Phyllo we know today also has a long and interesting history. Phyllo dough was not born in Greece, but rather in Istanbul during the Ottoman reign. But the Greeks can lay claim to creating the paper-thin version. It is well known that the Turks brought Baklava to Central Europe. A close relative to phyllo is strudel dough. Phyllo and strudel dough shares the same ingredients, wheat flour, water and fat (oil or butter). Both are rolled out, with phyllo being much thinner.
I had never worked with phyllo pastry before but I recently saw someone make spanakopita and wanted to give it a try. I battle with low iron levels and I’m trying to include more spinach in my diet and I do love a spinach and feta combination in pies, pizzas and quiches. I am not crazy enough to claim that the triangles I came up with are spanakopita but it turned out well and worked out perfectly for a light supper on a hot Sunday evening.
Spinach and Feta filling
10ml olive oil
5ml crushed garlic
2 cups spinach, spins removed and washed well
5ml Robertsons Garlic and Herb Spice
2 wheels of feta (approx 150g)
100g melted butter for assembling
Heat olive oil in a pan and quickly fry garlic. Immediately add spinach and allow to wilt (spinach shrinks down a great deal during cooking). After a few minutes of frying, you will notice a bit of water in the pan. This is where the flour comes in. Sprinkle flour over the spinach and allow flour to cook for a few minutes. Spinach leaves should no longer have any flour visible. Add milk and stir to make a sauce. Season to taste – remember, the feta will make everything very salty so be careful not to add too much. Remove from heat and add crumbled feta. Mix through to start the melting process. Set this side.
Assembling the parcels:
Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Unwrap 1 roll of pastry (the box I had had 2 rolls) and get a clean, damp dish towel. Phyllo pastry dries out very quickly so the pastry has to be kept moist while to work with one sheet. Set 1 sheet of phyllo pastry in front of you, the long side on top and the short side to the right and left. Cut this into 3 equal pieces and brush with melted butter. You will have long rectangles. Place a generous forkful of your spinach mixture in the bottom corner of the pastry and fold one corner across to form a triangle. Continue folding across alternating the direction of the fold until you have folded up all the pastry in a neat triangle package. Set this onto a greased baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining pastry. I managed to use 2 sheets of pastry to make 6 large spinach and feta triangles. Brush tops with some melted butter, put into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Banana and Dark Chocolate parcels
Remaining phyllo pastry sheets (about 5 sheets)
2 small bananas
100g dark chocolate, broken into blocks
50g melted butter
With the remaining sheets of phyllo pastry about 5 sheets, I tried to gently separate as many of them as possible without tearing. These were brushed with melted butter and stacked on top of one another before I cut them into 3 strips down and then into 4 equal pieces across making 12 squares. I sliced up the banana and placed about 2 fairly chunky slices into each square. I added a square of chocolate and shaped them into parcels by taking the opposite corners and making them meet in the center of each square. I gently twisted the pastry together and placed this into a muffin pan that had been generously greased with melted butter. I repeated the process with the remaining squares and set them aside under a damp towel until the triangles came out the oven. Once I removed the spinach and feta triangles from the oven, I put the parcels in (keeping the oven temperature to 190 degree) and baked them for 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Considering I only used one roll of phyllo pastry and I still have another roll left in the box waiting in the freezer, this meal was quite economical, delicious and fun to make. It is also a great contender for meatless Mondays that doesn’t take a lot of time to put together.