“These wonderful parcels of healthy greens wrapped in golden puff pastry are based on the famous Greek dish spanakopita, a filo pastry pie filled with spinach, feta and ricotta. You can make these pies with any greens you like – kale, spinach or silverbeet all work well. I like to use Warrigal greens, an Australian native spinach, but I will happily use any dark leafy green that is available at the time. ”
Put the pastry on a lightly floured kitchen bench and roll it out into a rectangle roughly measuring 38cm × 56cm (15 × 22in) and 4 mm (⅛in) thick. Cut out six 18cm (7in) discs. Lay the pastry discs between two sheets of baking paper and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble.
Wash the leafy greens and drain well. If using a variety of greens, divide them into groups and plan to cook each type separately; for example, English spinach will cook more quickly than say kale or rainbow chard leaves. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the greens, in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, and cook until just wilted (don’t overcook them – they will cook further in the oven). As each batch is cooked, transfer it to a colander over the sink. Lightly squeeze out any excess water to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy during the bake.
Once cool, roughly chop the greens and put them in a large bowl. Add the spring onion, garlic, eggs, feta, ricotta, pine nuts, dill, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly mix everything together.
Lay the pastry discs on a floured bench and lightly roll each one into an oval shape. Divide the filling between the pastry ovals, placing it on the top half of the oval, leaving a 2cm (¾in) border around the top edge. Push down on the greens to create a compact dome shape.
To make the egg wash, whisk all the ingredients together. It will keep, refrigerated, in a sealed container for a few days.
Lightly brush the pastry border at the top with the egg wash. Then fold the bottom half of the pastry over the filling so that it meets the pastry on the other side. Push out any air pockets and press the edges of the pastry together to seal the pies. Lightly brush the tops with egg wash, then use a blunt knife to score a leaf-shaped pattern over the top. Be careful not to cut through the pastry. Put in the fridge until you are ready to bake, or freeze them and bake when required.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put the pies on the lined trays and bake for 15 minutes, then turn and swap the trays. Bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and flaky. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free flaky pastry.