"It's not Thanksgiving without Spanakopitta!"
(Span= spinach, pitta= pie)
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Spanakopitta. Golden buttery layers of crispy dough, surrounding a delicious spinach pie laced with feta cheese. I grew up making it with my mom, she grew up making it with hers, and every holiday our family has enjoyed this dish for generations. It is a bit labor intensive and my Yaya (94yrs old) tried to talk me out of making it this year, she said it would be too much on me. I scolded her, "Yaya, it's not Thanksgiving without Spanakopitta!"
I love sharing this traditional delicacy so much I dug up my moms old recipe to share. It came from my great grandfather, a Greek immigrant who had his own wholesale bakery in the 1920s. He moved his wife and three little girls to New York City to open a Greek restaurant in 1928, with the Great Depression right around the corner, the next few years were pretty tough. My Yaya still remembers running down to the docks of Manhattan as a little girl to pick up huge vats of unfiltered olive oil shipped in from Greece.
Filo dough is very hard to find in other countries and even in your local American grocery store. I always have to ask where it is and most un-Greeks have no idea what it is. I sent my girlfriend to get filo the other day in Oklahoma City and she came back with puff pastry sheets, not the same! I spent one sad Thanksgiving with out my family in Mexico and resorted to making spinach pie empanadas. There is really no substitute for good filo dough so I have frozen it and carried it in my luggage and baked it in the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica, and New Zealand. I hope you try it, or just invite me to your next Thanksgiving, I come with Spanakopitta!
Side notes: You don't have to use dill. I actually like it better with out dill.
Bake time is longer in high altitudes.
Don't skimp on the feta, more feta= better pie.
Spinach pie is a great way to fool your kids into eating spinach!