This is hands down my favorite appetizer. My Mom used to make it all the time for holidays, and I asked her to for me for Christmas, but I just didn’t quite get my fill, so I whipped some up for New Years too. You may have already heard of them before, but probably as Spanakopita, a Greek pie of sorts, usually filled with spinach and cheese. Be brave with this recipe, if you like spinach, go ahead and add it. I’m not a huge spinach lover, so I choose not to. This is a pretty basic recipe for it, so you could pretty much add whatever you wanted to the filling, different cheeses, some spice, onion, whatever you can think of.
Me though, I think when you grow up with something, and it’s that nostalgic flavour that gets you most excited, so I make it as is. It turns a simple appetizer into a bite of Christmas at 8 years old for me. That’s what cooking should always be about, not just the flavour, but the feeling. <— And there, right there is where I got all yoga pants, shouting to the ocean, carried away.
Lets get to the cooking! I really should mention that these can me made ahead of time and frozen. Yep, that’s a party trick we can all get behind!
First off, about 8 years ago I made this as a Christmas present for all the women folk in the family. It’s a bunch of family recipes, and a bunch that I’d found online that turned out great. I can pretty much promise you that I’m the only one who’s opened it, lol.
At least I was organized about it. By coarse, then alphabetical.
Here’s what you need, it’s pretty simple: phyllo pastry, melted butter, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled feta cheese, flour, butter, pepper, and slightly beaten eggs.
Toss the butter in a large pan over medium heat.
Melt it down. You don’t actually need it to brown, but no harm no foul if it does a little.
Toss in the flour and whisk until nice and bubbly, and a little toasty looking in colour.
Whisk in the cream until you have a nice, thick paste like this. Don’t worry, it’s not too thick. Turn off the heat now.
Toss in all the cheese, and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon.
Next, add the pepper and parsley (a late addition that I forgot about, so had to use dried).
Lastly, stir in the beaten eggs.
Next up, lay your phyllo sheets out flat.
You need to cut it into three long strips. Each strip will be about 4″ wide
Now, get that melted butter (along with a pastry brush), and the cheese filling that we just made.
Lay out the phyllo strips individually (keep the ones not in use stacked and covered with a damp towel so they don’t dry out). Brush each strip with some of the melted butter.
Add a generous teaspoon of the filling to the bottom of the strip, about ½” from the bottom.
Fold the bottom right corner up until it’s flush with the left side, to make a triangle.
Now flip the triangle up… yep, you’ve got it. Just keep flipping it up and across and up and across until you reach the end of the strip. It doesn’t matter if you overlap a little like this, I prefer to keep it snug to the filling so that the finished triangles look nice and plump when cooked up.
Beautiful! You’ll see that the end of every strip will leave you with a different amount of leftover, and sometimes it’ll finish perfectly. None of it matters, just fold it over and you’re done.
Toss that baby on a lined baking sheet and move on to the rest of them. I promise, the first 5 might seem tedious, but then you get the hand of it and whip through the rest of them.
Also, I highly recommend laying out as many strips as you can on your counter and do them in bunches. It’s much faster. Please excuse the Christmas chaos that we’re still holding onto in this house.
Here’s the trays of finished triangles.
One last thing before they hit the oven though, brush the tops with that melted butter again.
Ok, if you’re freezing these for later, to finish cooking at party time (and I promise you can’t tell the difference), you want to take them out after about 10 minutes of cooking, when the edges just start to brown. Then let them cool completely, and freeze in layers with either freezer paper, parchment paper, or foil between each layer. Then you can easily separate them to finish cooking from frozen when needed.
And here’s the golden brown beauties that you’ll end up with at the end.
All I can say right now, is that after writing this post, I’m really glad I can through a few of these in the oven to eat tonight. Enjoy!
Here’s your printable:
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 4½ tbsp flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 14 oz (440g) feta cheese, crumbled
- 7 oz (210g) cheddar cheese grated
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3 tbl chopped fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried)
- pepper to taste
- 1 package phyllo pastry, thawed
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook gently until slightly browned.
- Slowly whisk in the milk until thick and smooth.Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the cheddar and feta cheeses with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Stir in the parsley, pepper, and eggs, until well combined.
- Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare the phyllo. Unfold the sheets. Measure the short end and divide this into 3 equal parts (strips), which should be about 4" in width. Stack the strips and cover with a damp cloth as the phyllo dries out very quickly.
- Make the triangles. Lay as many individual sheets out across your counter as you can fit and lightly brush with melted butter.
- Place one heaping teaspoon of mixture ½” from the end of the strip. Fold the corner of the pastry over the filling to form a triangle. Continue to fold in triangles to the end of the strip. Place on a cookie sheet and brush the top with melted butter.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 350ºF until golden brown and serve warm.
- If freezing: Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Let cool completly, the freeze in layers with parchment paper, freezer paper, or aluminum foil between the layers. This will make it a lot easier to remove just the amount you want to bake from the freezer because they won't be stuck together. Bake from frozen for about 20 minutes, until golden brown (watch though, as it make take a little bit longer).