Albania

Dish

Byrek me Spinaq (Spinach Pie) Albanian pies (maddeningly delicious!) are generally made of thin pastry leaves which can be rolled out at home or bought as FILO dough at a supermarket. Most of the pies prepared by Albanian cooks are not sweet; instead, pie fillings are almost always salty. Thus, a piece of such a pie may well serve as the main dish of a meal. Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 packets (or about 30) pastry leaves (Filo dough)
  • 1 1/2 pounds spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup diced feta cheese
  • 1/2 finely chopped small onions
  • 2 eggs
  • Small pot of natural yoghurt
  • salt, half teaspoon

Method

  1. ( NOTE: A medium-sized, round baking pan is recommended because it’s more authentic but any medium-sized baking pan will do).
  2. Brush the baking pan with some of the oil, and start laying the pastry leaves inside.
  3. First, lay two leaves, sprinkle or brush with oil, then lay two other leaves, and repeat the procedure until half of the leaves are laid. Make sure that they cover the pan by hanging them about one inch over the edges of the pan.
  4. Sprinkle spinach with salt, then mix well by hand.
  5. Add the feta cheese, two dessert spoons of yoghurt, onions, eggs, a drizzle of oil and salt, and spread this mixture over the already laid pastry leaves.
  6. Finish by covering the spinach with the rest of the pastry leaves repeating the first-half procedure and then roll the hanging edges of the bottom leaves over the pie (think of a pizza crust), brush the top with oil or melted butter and bake moderately at 3501_F for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Serve warm, accompanied with beaten yogurt thinned down in cold water or even with chilled stewed prunes!