I almost didn't have this post ready for you today. I have been thinking about these little hand pies, inspired by this lamb version, for a couple weeks now, and was so excited to finally try them out last night. I left work a little early, got home, started prepping the ingredients, handling the phyllo dough with care... but things weren't going as planned.
Have you ever worked with phyllo dough? I have one time, with a friend in high school and my mom, while making baklava. It's difficult to remember whether or not that particular experience was quite as frustrating as last night, but I'm sure it wasn't easy. I ripped no fewer than 12 sheets of the dough, and almost gave up. Granted, I don't think I was doing the whole, parchment-and-damp-dishtowel-covering exactly right, and I tend to hurry through recipes sometimes, especially if I have limited time to take photos. But, at the end of the day, these little hand pies were more than worth the frustration.
You could use any filling you want really, but as soon as I found this recipe and tutorial, I was picturing a spin on spanikopita. Spinach, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives, all wrapped up in a handheld package of flaky, buttery dough? What's not to love?
I also think this filling would work nicely in those little pre-made phyllo cups, if you are not quite ready to work with the actual dough. But, if you have the time and patience, you should definitely go for the real thing!
Mediterranean Hand Pies
adapted from The Fresh Exchange Blog
12 sheets phyllo dough
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2.5 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled
Prior to cooking, thaw the phyllo dough according to package directions and set aside. Keep covered under a piece of parchment paper and a damp dishtowel.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Saute the spinach in a large pan with the olive oil until just wilted. Set aside.
Prepare your work station. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take a clean, large cutting board, and make sure the phyllo dough, melted butter, and fillings are nearby. As you use each piece of dough, make sure to recover the remaining sheets.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on the cutting board. Brush the butter over the dough with a pastry brush. Layer another sheet, butter, and a third sheet, more butter. Then, slice the sheet into 4 sheets vertically (this will vary based on the size of your phyllo dough sheets and the desired size of your hand pies). At the bottom of each strip, place a small portion of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Wrap each strip in a triangle, like a paper football (see this post for great in-process shots). Set each hand pie onto the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat until all filling is distributed amongst the phyllo dough strips and you have 12 wrapped "pies" ready to be baked. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Store in the fridge until needed.
Makes 12 hand pies.