An easy to make puff pastry braid with a deliciously tasty spanakopita filling! If you're craving spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) but don't want to use filo pastry, this is a great alternative that will hit the spot. This is an easy choice of recipe to feed a crowd or bring to a gathering - spanakopita pie is a favourite amongst vegetarians and non vegetarians alike.
Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F. Prepare your spinach. First, defrost it. Either leave it out to thaw for a few hours at room temperature, or use your microwave's defrost setting for a few minutes. It doesn't need to be warm or completely thawed, you just want to loosen up the blocks of spinach enough to be able to squeeze out moisture. To do this, I like to put all the spinach into a sieve or colander and use a heavy bowl to press down and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Place the spinach into a large bowl and set aside.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and saute the onion until soft.
Add the onion into the bowl with the spinach and mix in the feta, cream cheese, lemon juice and mint. Add a little extra cream cheese if needed to bind everything together into a nice creamy filling.
Time to prepare the braid. There are images of process in the blog post above. Unroll your puff pastry to lay flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper (your pastry may come rolled in baking paper that you can use).
Use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut slices (just under 1/3rd of the way in) on either side. Scoop your filling (1/2 per braid) in the middle and bring the pastry strips on either side up to cover the filling, allowing them to overlap in the middle.
Whisk an egg thoroughly in a small bowl and brush over the top of the spanakopita braids.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
This recipe is enough for TWO braids - if you're only making one, you can either halve the filling recipe or save half of the filling.Slices of this keep reasonably well to serve cold, or place in the oven for a few minutes to warm and crisp back up a little. You'll never the crisp back as easily with reheated puff pastry, but this is your best shot.You can freeze for 6 months. Defrost fully before warming up. If you're using whole leaf spinach, you will need to chop it up as best you can once it's been defrosted and squeezed. Try kitchen scissors or a food processor for the least messy option!