Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta) Turnovers

Ask any ordinary home baker what their biggest fear is and you’ll probably hear puff pastry most often. In fact, most Chefs don’t make puff pastry from scratch, as good frozen version is readily available anyway. After succeeding in shortcrust pastry, I’ve been promising myself to tackle puff pastry at home for the longest time. Besides being extremely time consuming, it’s also laborious and requires delicate skills.

When I came across this week’s Bake Along theme (turnovers) on Lena’s blog, I know that it’s time for me to finally overcome my fear.

Turnovers
Turnovers

A turnover is basically a baked filled pastry, made by placing the filling on the dough and folding the dough over to seal. The filling can be savoury and sweet (apple being the most traditional and popular), and the pastry can be either shortcrust or puff, even kneaded yeast dough.

There’s no prize guessing what kind of turnovers I’d make (savoury of course), although Frank did vote for a classic apple turnover (which I’ll make with leftover pastry later). But since there are a few apple turnovers already posted by fellow Bake-along participants, I decided to make a vegetarian version. Spinach and Feta is one of my favourite combination for pastry (Spanakopita, anyone?), I know this would be fabulous, if the pastry turned out ok.

I started making the pastry yesterday afternoon and soon realised that I would not be able to even get it ready for dinner. The process was pretty frustrating with our climate. I couldn’t work on the dough long enough before the butter started to melt and leak (that happened almost every time I fold until the last one). And to be honest that was quite discouraging, but I thought I’d persevere anyway. One tip though, if that happen, immediately coat the butter with plenty of flour and return it to the fridge for at least 20 minutes then continue to work on it. So you can imagine the resting time for the dough was dramatically increased!

My log of puff pastry ready to be used.
My log of puff pastry ready to be used.

The puff pastry recipe came from Zoe, so do head over there for detailed instructions (how do you take photos with hands full of butter and flour?).

This is half the recipe, feel free to double up for 2 pounds worth.
Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup Chilled water

Butter Square
1 1/2 stick Butter, chilled (I’ve used KerryGold Irish Butter, if you are using unsalted butter, then add 1 teaspoon salt for the dough) that is around 170g by the way. Cut into 4 equal blocks.
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

For the dough: Mix flour, sugar, salt in a big bowl and whisk to combined. Add lemon juice, follow by 1/2 cup water and knead the dough until it just come together (no flour bits remain). Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into square. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hr.

For the butter square: Lay butter blocks side by side on sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle flour over butter and cover with second sheet of parchment. Gently pound butter with rolling pin until butter is softened and flour is fully incorporated, then roll it into 4-inch square. Wrap butter square in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hr.

Roll chilled dough into 6-inch square on lightly floured counter. Place chilled butter square diagonally in center of dough. Fold corners of dough up over butter square so that corners meet in middle and pinch dough seams to seal. Make sure the sides are properly sealed.

Using rolling pin, gently tap dough, starting from center and working outward, until square becomes larger and butter begins to soften. Gently roll dough into 8-inch square (about 1cm thick, and thinner in the final stage), dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. Fold dough into thirds like business letter, then fold rectangle in thirds to form square. Wrap dough in plastic and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hrs.

Repeat the rolling and folding step twice and let dough rest in refrigerator for 2 more hrs before using. If not using immediately, place in freezer until ready to use. Remember to allow thawing time.

So this afternoon when I thawed my puff pastry and took a close inspection, this is what I see:

Can you see the layers?
Can you see the layers?

Even though the surface wasn’t smooth, I think this would work!

Happy with the puff pastry, I moved on to make my filling.

Love the vibrant green!
Love the vibrant green!

Spinach and Feta Turnovers

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chopped Spinach (I’ve used Frozen Chopped Spinach)
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg, separated
80g crumbled feta
Puff Pastry as above*

*With extra pastry, neatly stacked them and re-roll into sheet, do not bunch them up or you will lose the layers.

The turnovers can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed.

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just softened. Add the spinach, dried oregano, nutmeg, and cook for about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice and half the egg white. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool. Divide the mixture into 4 portions.

Preheat oven to 200C, line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the puff pastry into 5inch squares (you should get at least 4), place the filling in the centre of the pastry, carefully distrubuted it in the shape of triangle. Fold the puff pastry over and press down on the edges with a fork to seal.

Transfer the turnovers to the baking tray and brush with egg yolk. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Love the golden hue and they did puff up nicely!
Love the golden hue and they did puff up nicely!

I’m sure you are all curious to see the inside too?

Success!
Success!

Just check out the beautiful flaky pastry. If I make this next time I’ll make sure to make the mixture drier as you can see the moisture have seeped through the pastry a little. No matter, they tasted amazing! I think if the butter hadn’t leaked (I lost about 10-20g in the process I think) this would be even more buttery. Another achievement unlocked, anyhow.

So what’s your biggest fear in the kitchen?

I am submitting this post to Bake Along hosted by Zoe of Baking for Happy kids, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Lena of Frozen Wings. Check out the other turnovers recipes too!

49 Comments Add yours

  1. Great job for 1st attempt! our weather definitely is not suitable. get a small slab of marble and chill it before using.. chef loke say it’s not expensive. I plan to get one for chocolate making

    1. kellysiew says:

      I have a slab of marble but it’s round (it’s a lazy Susan), totally forgotten about Chef Loke’s tip. Will try that next time.

  2. gosh, looks like a lot of time, effort & care got put into making this! the result looks scrumptious though. easily the best-looking spanakopita i’ve seen, pipping even the ones at giovino at changkat, mandarin oriental’s casbah and klcc’s cafe vienna šŸ˜€

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thanks for the kind words (too kind la). The usual spanakopita is made with phyllo pastry though which is a little lighter (and crispier). These are slightly heavier in comparison.

  3. Mel says:

    Hi Kelly
    It is time for me to overcome my fear too to start making puff pastry from scatch. You must be pleased and finally ithe turnovers were so well baked. I am really salivating looking at it. It must be really delicious when eaten warm, right?

    1. kellysiew says:

      Absolutely delightful to eat warm! You should try the puff pastry too.

  4. Hi Kelly,
    You did a great job with the puff pastry. It definitely requires lots of patience and time. But then nothing beats homemade puff pastry. I love it too with savoury filling. I’m so glad that Bake-Along has inspired you to try at making puff pastry.
    Thank you for baking along with us. Have a great Sunday!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! Yeah bake along is definitely great for us to challenge ourselves.

  5. Gret job Kelly! Making pastry in a hot climate is such a challenge! I made a cake yesterday in the humidity and wished I had air conditioning.

    1. kellysiew says:

      My kitchen is a little far away from the living room aircond. Maybe I should consider having the freezer door open. Hah!

  6. suituapui says:

    Ahhhh!!!! Nice…and so fast! Thought I just saw you thawing the puff pastry on Facebook? LOL!!!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Facebook newsfeed is often out of sequence, gotta check the time stamps these days. I started making the pastry on Friday actually.

  7. Baby Sumo says:

    Woohooo looks great Kelly! Really amazed with all the things you make all the time. I like how you constantly push yourself to make all these amazing things.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thanks! Yeah need to push myself so I’ll improve. Overcoming a challenge is a nice feeling too.

  8. jeannietay says:

    Great job for a first! I don’t have much patience to do the pastry lol! Beautifully done!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! I don’t actually have a lot of patience either (at least that’s what I feel) but what I did have this few days is plenty of time. Time to set new challenges now too!

  9. Phong Hong says:

    Kelly, you did really well! Puff pastry and any kind of pastry is my greatest fear at the moment. But I will get to it!

  10. CK says:

    Wah, first time already did well! This is too high level for me, I think I can only make simple salad…. šŸ˜›

    1. kellysiew says:

      Haha! At least you are starting with the basic! I’ve done route of pastries many times though. Principles are the same just more tedious.

  11. Crazy dedication babe! I was hanging on to the entire “adventure” on instagram.. Noms!

    1. kellysiew says:

      And likewise on your lime and coconut cake!

  12. All your hard work have paid off!! I like a savoury turnover too though didn’t seem to have had it often. What a lovely and tasty filling you’ve created with spinach and feta, yum!!

  13. angeline says:

    Hi Kelly, it has been a while I didn’t visit your blog. The puff is very flaky and crispy. You made it so well. Hope you are doing well over there.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you, been doing well. I enjoyed making that pastry.

  14. Zoe says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Sorry for my late visit… Weekend with husband and kid is always crazy for me :p

    I was little worried seeing your comment at first that your butter leaked at your first turn and now feeling relieved that your pastry turned out well with nice and flaky texture šŸ˜€

    How do I take picture with my hands with flour and butter? I washed my hands at every step… hee hee. I did this when I was all by myself at home. Although there is lots of work involved, I find rolling with photo taking is a very therapeutic thing to do. You must be thinking I’m crazy… This is me being mum finding my inner peace :p – LOL!

    I like spanakopita too with the combination of spinach and feta but I will be the only one eating the very-vege combination *sign*

    Zoe

    1. kellysiew says:

      I will make sure that everything is well chilled next time I make this. You are so dedicated to take step by step pictures.

  15. Nice job with the pastry. Have learnt that at Natalie’s but her method is long and labourious! Anyway nice to have finally met you and now you don’t worry cos we’re not stalkers :p

    1. kellysiew says:

      How much longer does she do her pastry? It’s laborious alright. Not something that I can make on a regular basis definitely.

  16. Yay, congrats on the achievement and combating your puff pastry fear! The process looks really tedious.. but the result looks awesome for your first time! šŸ˜€

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yah the end product made the whole process worth it.

  17. Lena says:

    good work, Kelly! I havent got the determination yet to make my own pastry..sometimes a little lazy too thinking of the waiting time and also like what you said, laborious! Congratulations on your achievement! They look very good indeed. My biggest fear in the kitchen would be when i’m hungry and couldnt find any food in the kitchen! LOL! thanks again for baking along with us!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Lol! I’m the type who stares at a full fridge and say there’s nothing to eat. Very much like my wardrobe too.

  18. The Yum List says:

    I do love these spinach and cheese parcels. They make a great snack.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Spinach and feta is such awesome combination.

  19. Great work on the puff, i think you hve inspired a lot of people to get over their fear for this pastry. My current fear in the kitchen? Baking bread….still have yet to attempt it, or im dragging my feet.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Ooh! Bread making is less laborious than this, you should give it a go! It’s really satisfying!

  20. Wow well done dearie šŸ™‚ Can’t believe you actually made puff pastry at home! That’s heaps of work and effort! But it paid off because it looks super flakery, buttery and YUM!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yeah not something that I can do everyday but it’s definitely very rewarding!

  21. Libby says:

    Haha I’m too lazy to make my own puff pastry but good on you for giving it a go!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! šŸ™‚

  22. Abbygail says:

    I did leave a comment on Instagram, tot maybe i shud leave one here too. LOL . I will definitely try making puff pastry from scratch … šŸ˜‰ . Tq for sharing babe. I am drooling now. šŸ˜‰

    1. kellysiew says:

      Heheheheh yeah try it soon la!

  23. Priscilla says:

    Definitely a healthy snack to minus the guilt from eating flaky pastry as a lot of butter was used. Anyway nice know some of u frm Bake Along and am following you from now. =)

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yes it definitely balanced out the sinfulness of the pastry. See you around the cyberspace! šŸ˜€

  24. Absolutely brilliant job Kelly. The thought of making my own pastry, other than shortcrust, is a none starter. I’m so impressed. Loving your blog too.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! I had been wanting to make it for ages and finally got the chance to. Not as scary as I thought and actually quite forgiving too. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  25. its strange, I thought I had left my comment here but cant see it… oh well, maybe I m dreaming.. lol…

    awesome recipe! my sister’s MIL is greek so she used to make this for us…kudos to you for making the puff pastry from scratch…

    1. kellysiew says:

      Actually I thought I saw your comment too, but it seems to have vanished……..

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