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I used to make these every New Year’s Eve, because they’re great for morning-after breakfast with the butter and cheese.  No, it’s not a traditional Spanakopita because it doesn’t have spinach.  I find the spinach can have an overwhelming taste…kind of like dirt.  No, thank you.

Here’s my favorite recipe.  It was a huge hit at my Easter dinner and I only have three left!

Tiropeta (Spanakopita)

Makes about 20 and uses one box of phyllo (fillo) dough

1 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup Polly-O ricotta cheese (Polly-O is the best; use the leftovers for baked ziti or eat for breakfast with cinnamon sugar)

2 eggs

4 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp black pepper2016-03-27 14.10.55

1 box phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

2 sticks melted butter

Tips for working with phyllo dough:

Phyllo dough can be very difficult to work with, but here are some suggestions from my trial and error.  First, it comes frozen, but don’t speed-thaw it on the counter.  Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.  If it thaws on the counter, it will thaw unevenly, and you’ll have sheets that stick together on one end and that are dry and crumbly on the other.

Prepare a sheet of damp paper towels to cover the phyllo you’re not working with while you assemble.  Run them under water and wring out well.  If you have just the right amount of moisture, the paper towels will keep the dough pliable.  Too much and it will turn the phyllo into glue.  Too little and the phyllo crumbles.  Fight the temptation to use a spray bottle.  It’s WAY too much.

Don’t bother using a silicone brush for the butter; it just doesn’t hold enough.  Get a kitchen brush that looks like a paintbrush.

Recipe:

  1. Combine feta, ricotta, egg, parsley, and pepper in bowl.  Mix well.
  2. Separate one sheet of phyllo from the stack and lay it on a large cutting board.  Lay the damp towels over the stack.
  3. Gently brush the one sheet with melted butter.
  4. Fold the dough into thirds to form a 4-inch wide rectangle.
  5. Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the bottom right corner of the strip of dough.
  6. Fold, flag fashion, or like those notes we used to pass in class, to form a triangle.
  7. Brush the top with more butter to seal the triangle.
  8. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 350° 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat over the sink or in the presence of dogs.  They are very flaky.  Great for appetizers!  Reheat in a toaster oven for a quick snack.  Speaking of, I have three more I forgot about…gotta run!

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