Friday, March 12, 2010

Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nut Tart


Phyllo dough can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.  It all depends on how its handled.  Trust me, I have had my fair share of phyllo catastrophes.  Usually, my problem is in the thawing of the dough.  I become so impatient that I figure "hey, Ill unroll it anyway", this is a big no-no.  Most of my other failed attempts are because I let the dough get too dry.  Ever had cracks in your dough? Yep, thats why.  To make a long story short, my usual attempts with phyllo result in a smooth start with me quickly losing patience and balling up bad dough to throw into the trash.  Get the picture?

So when I came across this recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, I was partly thinking good idea, I can do that and crap, I have go through phyllo dough hell.  But I was determined to master the technique. The trick to keeping the dough moist is to place a layer of plastic wrap followed by 2 layers of damp paper towels over the completely thawed phyllo.

While the orginal recipe says that this can be a main dish, I prefer to have a little substance as the main attraction to my meals.  So I would have the tart to either be an appetizer or side dish. 

Ultimately, the end result was a little dry and bland for my taste buds.  For future use and to the posted recipe, I added some sour cream and salt/pepper.  Otherwise, the presentation was phenominal and the spinach mixed with the feta and pine nuts was perfect!


Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nut Tart:

½ cup pine nuts (about 3 ounces)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup crumbled feta (about 3 ounces)

1/2 c. sour cream
seven 17- by 12-inch phyllo sheets
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons plus ¼ cup (1¼ ounce) freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium heat.
In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. 
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until combined and stir in spinach, onions, pine nuts, sour cream, salt and feta until combined well.
Stack phyllo sheets and cover with 2 overlapping sheets plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel. In a small saucepan melt butter and cool slightly. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
On a work surface lightly brush 1 phyllo sheet with butter. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan evenly over buttered phyllo and repeat layering with 5 more phyllo sheets, butter, and 5 tablespoons Parmesan. Arrange last phyllo sheet on stack and lightly brush with butter. Spoon filling onto phyllo, spreading evenly and leaving outer 1½ inches free of filling. Fold edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered, and lightly brush top of phyllo with butter. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Parmesan over exposed filling and bake tart in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

3 comments:

Sook said...

Oh boy! I love the combination of feta and spinach. :) Looks good!

Fork1 said...

Thanks, this was so much easier than doing spanikopita and looked just as great!

Binky - Cake Decorating Techniques from Cakeb0t said...

This looks so deeelish! Phyllo IS a pain in the BUTT. You probably already know this, but a tip is to have a damp towel around. While you're brushing one layer with butter, you keep the other layers moist by covering them with a damp towel. Still might rip, espeically if it's too wet. But I've better luck using it that way!

 
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