Not Your YiaYia’s Spinach Pie

1 May

Another dirty little secret is about to surface: I’m not that crazy about spanakopita.  I enjoy a piece here and there but, considering its privileged place in the Greek culinary canon, it really doesn’t blow my hair back.  JetSet Kef, on the other hand, has been known to eat enough spanakopita so as to conjure the dreaded “carb face” in a single sitting.  But I digress.

This year, I stumbled upon this little gem: Picnic Pie, hereafter referred to as “spanakopita on crack” (SPOC).  Though I usually try not to serve things on the same day I make them for the first time, I went out on a limb and gave this guy a whirl–and the results were tremendous!  It is an easy-to-follow recipe and comes out like a Greek quiche- enjoy!

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           For the pastry:
  •  2 c flour (regular or gluten free)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 1/2c butter, diced
  • 4-6 TBSP chilled water 

    (or substitute the above items with a pre-made pie crust–see note about crust in bold below)
    For the filling:

  • 3-4 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 medium squash, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz fresh spinach
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c feta
  • 1/2 c mizithra or Parmesan cheese
  • 6 TBSP milk
  • 1 c rice, cooked

For the pastry
1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl and stir in basil, then throw in the butter and mix by hand or with a dough hook on a standing mixer.  Keep mixing until mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over most of the water and mix, adding more water as required. (I ended up having to use 6 TBSP).  Mold dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 min.

2. Roll out the dough thinly enough so that it fits your 10inch round pan.  Place dough in pan and shape however you want-I do not get fancy. Cover again with plastic and chill for another 30 min.

3. Use a fork to prick holes all over the base of the crust. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until the pasty is just turning golden.

Note: if you’re using a pre-made crust, you should still follow step 3.
For the filling
1. Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a skillet and lightly fry zucchini slices (about 2-3 min/side), in as many batches as it takes to keep them in a single layer while frying. Add the remaining olive oil between batches as you need it. As each batch is done, arrange the slices in a single layer on paper towels to help absorb excess moisture. Separate out the 8 prettiest ones. 

2. Once the squash has all been fried, add the onion and garlic to whatever oil remains and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 min.

3. Combine eggs, spinach, both cheeses, yogurt, milk, and onion mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth.

4. Spread cooked rice in a single, even layer over the bottom of the crust (you may not need the full cup, depending on your pie size).  Next, layer all but your 8 prettiest zucchini slices over the bottom, in as many even layers as you like.  Finally, spoon the spinach/cheese mixture into the crust.  Arrange the pretty zucchini slices on the top however you see fit.

5. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until center is set and top is lightly browned.  Serve warm or cold, preferably the next day.

6 Responses to “Not Your YiaYia’s Spinach Pie”


  1. I Survived Greek Easter 2013 | Cooking Up Kefi - May 15, 2013

    […] Picnic Pie                                                          πίτα πικ-νικ […]

  2. Paleo Banana Bread Muffins | Cooking Up Kefi - June 7, 2013

    […] and running and tanning, I’ve been cooking and baking and eating. At this rate I will have carb face well before I even set foot in Aunt Stella’s […]

  3. The Terror Twins Do It Again: Greek Easter 2014 Part I | Cooking Up Kefi - April 22, 2014

    […] Wegmans). JetSet started with his eggplant keftedes, while I worked on spanakopita and the Picnic Pie (aka: Spinach Pie on Crack).By midnight, I was pretty spent–so I requested my evening reading […]

  4. Greek Easter 2014: Part II | Cooking Up Kefi - April 23, 2014

    […] gluten-free picnic pie that was so good I ate it with my non-driving hand the whole way […]

  5. Honey Pine Nut Tart | Cooking Up Kefi - March 3, 2015

    […] a pine nut tart. This comes to us from the same rando bargain-bin cookbook that brought us the Spanakopita on Crack, so if these random not-Greek chefs said a pie full of savory nuts would pass as a dessert, I was […]

  6. Friday 5: Cookbooks I Love | Cooking Up Kefi - September 23, 2016

    […] with very unGreek last names. HOWEVER. Some of my favorite Greek recipes come from this book- this twist on the old spinach pie classic, a surprisingly good pine nut tart, and this sausage-meatball hybrid that’s quickly become […]

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