Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spanakopita Bites

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Buttery, flaky phyllo appetizers are especially popular in my family. I guess I can't blame them since who can resist buttery, flaky phyllo dough anyway?! My mother in law requested these Spanakopita Bites as an appetizer for the birthday party she was throwing for her husband. They were a hit with no leftovers, which is no surprise. I firmly believe that anything paired with butter and phyllo dough would be hard to resist...right?

These spanakopita bites are a twist on the classic spanakopita recipe I tend to make. A month or so ago, I made spanakopita in the shape of little cigars, making it a portable dish. This time, I decided to use my mini muffin pan to create phyllo cups, which I filled with a standard spanakopita filling. I encourage you to play with phyllo dough and create various shapes in which you could fill and bake. Whether it be cups, such as these that I made, rolls, triangles or whatever tickles your fancy, have fun! Besides, as delicate as phyllo dough is, I find it pretty forgiving too. Once you douse it with butter and bake, there won't be any complaints... I promise.

Spanakopita Bites
recipe adapted from CBS
recipe yields 60-72 mini muffin sized bites

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach. thawed and squeezed dry
4 to 6 ounces domestic feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup cottage cheese OR ricotta cheese OR cream cheese
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound phyllo, thawed
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add white and green chopped onions; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix spinach, feta, cottage cheese and egg in medium bowl. Add cooked onions and season with salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the remaining butter and oil and set aside until ready to use.

Remove the phyllo dough from the package and stack up. Carefully cut the phyllo dough into 2 inch by 2 inch squares; set aside.


Prepare your mini muffin pan by brushing butter in each well. Place 1-2 squares of phyllo dough into each well, pushing down to create a cup or crust. Brush the top phyllo filled wells with more melted butter and repeat by placing 1-2 squares of phyllo dough into each well and pushing down to create a cup or crust again. Repeat with another layer of 1-2 squares of phyllo dough and brush with more melted butter.


Place a heaping teaspoon into each well, filling the phyllo cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

TO FREEZE - These can be made in advance, baked, cooled and frozen... and will stay good up to 1 month. Reheat from frozen state {do not defrost} on a cookie sheet or mini muffin pan in a 375 oven for 10-12 minutes or until middles are warmed through.

53 comments:

Cassandra - Pitcher said...

Looks great! Makes me hungry just looking at it.

Jenn said...

I love this idea. One bite...no mess! Thanks for sharing

emily (a nutritionist eats) said...

Beautiful picture! I actually have some phyllo cups (the pre-made ones) in the freezer and spanakopita would be perfect! Thanks for the idea!

Erica said...

These sound delish and perfect for a party. Think they can be made ahead?

Joelen said...

Hi Erica, yes - I make them ahead and freeze. I'll also bake from frozen too.

Luce Cannon said...

Featured here. (I linked to your blog to make sure you got credit for the recipe.) Can't wait to try them- I'm going to make them this weekend!

BluKatDesign handmade artisan jewelry said...

What a great idea! Thanks : )

Emma @ Fat Loss Tips said...

Based on the reviews and how yummy these look, I went ahead and made them last weekend. I took the advise to freeze some and that has worked out well. I use them as snacks for after school or really anytime you need a quick pick-me-up! :)

Bobbi said...

When you freeze them, what are the instructions for baking them? Do you freeze prior to baking or after?

Joelen Tan said...

Hi Bobbi - if you freeze these, you can bake them right from frozen. As to when to freeze, you can do it either before or after you've baked them. I suggest baking them as directed in the recipe completely, cooling them off, then popping them out of the mini muffin pan and placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer to firm up. Then once individually frozen, you can toss them in a large freezer bag and freeze. From there, preheat the oven, place the frozen bites on a cookie sheet and bake until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes. Hope this clarifies things a bit!

Bri said...

How far ahead can you freeze them in advance? I was thinking about a week to 5 days beforehand, would that be too long?

Julie said...

Would these travel well in an insulated carrier and still be good, or is it best if right out of the oven? I need a quality appetizer to take to a holiday party.

Anonymous said...

I would like to make these tonight for an appie party but I don't have time to freeze them. How far in advance can I place the filling in thy phyllo before baking? Don't want to be assembling them just before the guests arrive? Thanks - they look great

Joelen Tan said...

Hi Anonymous! Sorry to just getting to your question now... busy weekend! Hope I'm not too late responding, but you can assemble these about 1-2 hours before, chill and then bake just before your guests arrive. Because the layers are already doused with butter to keep the phyllo moist, there won't be any issue with the filling affecting the phyllo either. Have a great appie party!

Stephanie K said...

Hi! I was wondering how many bites this recipe makes? These look really delicious and I can't wait to try them!

Joelen Tan said...

Hi Stephanie K - For a pound of phyllo dough, I was able to yield nearly 100 bites, if not more... or 4 mini muffin pans worth (each pan I have holds 24 mini muffins). Hope this helps!

Joan@chocolateandmore said...

Yum, I'm in heaven, and I have some phyllo dough in the freezer. I see these in my future! Pinned!

Syrenitee Springs said...

I cooked these tonight to go along with homemade gyros, and I must say, they're AMAZING!! SO GOOD! I'm totally making these again, and again, and again! In love with this recipe, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Can I make these the day before?

e.Kray n C.J said...

how many servings does this make?

Joelen Tan said...

Anonymous - you can make them before but I found that they don't crisp up as well.

e.Kray n C.J - I yielded about 24pcs using 1/2 a package of phyllo...48pcs if I used the entire box.

Anonymous said...

Just completely amazing. Made these as Easter dinner appetizers, gone in minutes. I made a lot of food, this was far and away my favorite thing of the day. Craving more a day later!!

leonardva said...

These are so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! I froze the extra's, and reheat them in the oven, they were perfect!

Anonymous said...

How many layers of phyllo per well.

Ashley Migliore said...

I think anywhere from 3-6? She said 1-2 3 separate times. I would like to know the answer as well though.

Joelen Tan said...

Hi Ashley/Anonymous! Sorry about the delay in responding. For each well, anywhere from 3 to 6 separate "squares" of phyllo dough are used, making sure to butter after every other one. The more you layer, the less filling you'll need. If you like lots of filling, aim for 3 squares of phyllo in each well and butter each piece as you layer. If you like less filling, aim for 6 squares of phyllo in each well, and butter every other piece as you layer. It really doesn't matter too much how many actual squares of phyllo dough you use. I just stacked the phyllo sheets, cut into squares and then layered/buttered them into each well to form a "cup" for the filling. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I tried these tonight and they are awesome. Very easy to make. I used anywhere from 4-8 layers of phyllo and piled the filling into the cups. I got 24 cups by using half the box of dough. I had just a bit of the filling left. I need to find something to do with that bit. :)

Aurelia said...

Just found this recipe on pinerest: Nice snack for the next bbq party!

Anonymous said...

Can you use won-ton wrappers instead of phylo-dough?

Anonymous said...

THESE WERE FANTASTIC!!! Thank you!!! :) I made them in medium sized muffin tins, and they were just fine!

TheMoonAndMe said...

I want to eat these RIGHT NOW!
They look scrumptious...thanks for sharing!
Kelly

Leander said...

OMG... Love them!!

Anonymous said...

Can you make them without using the mini muffin pans? I want to just make and use as a dip?

Joelen Tan said...

Anonymous - you could omit the phyllo dough complete and just combine the filling and heat up as a dip!

Anonymous said...

i made these last night and used fat free cottage cheese, fat free feta and omitted the butter and used olive oil and sea salt instead and it was soooooo amazing!

Anonymous said...

I love phyllo dough but it can be a pain to work with so I cheat and buy the preformed phyllo cups from my local grocery store freezer section. Super easy and tastes every bit as good without the hassle.

Anonymous said...

HOW LONG CAN YOU FREEZE THEM ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN COOKED? THANKS

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of cottage cheese could ricotta cheese work?

Anonymous said...

Can I replace the cottage cheese with something else?

Sara D. said...

has anyone replaced the cottage cheese with anything else? How do the premade cups turn out?

bjk said...

i SEE THERE ARE THREE OTHERS THAT WOULD LIKE TO REPLACE THE COTTAGE CHEESE. HOPE THIS CAN BE ANSWERED SOON. WANTED TO MAKE FOR CHRISTMAS EVE. THANKS

Joelen Tan said...

I've updated the recipe above with cottage cheese substitutions AND freezing/reheating instructions. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

When made in standard sized mini-muffin tins, about how many does this recipe yield?

Anonymous said...

I made these during the holidays in Germany and they were a hit! What they call phyllo [one sheet that puffs when baked] is much different than what I buy here in the States. They were delicious! I used the ricotta. Thanks.

Vicky

Anonymous said...

People, read the recipe! Just about ALL the questions were answered in the recipe!

InTheKitchenWith..... said...

I just made these for the family. I made mine with 4 oz. cream cheese and 4 oz. feta and they are absolutely fantastic!! I made some in the small muffin pan and some into triangles....these really are the best i've ever had!!!

Tracy said...

i made them tonight and will be bringing them to a party tomorrow afternon. should i freeze and reheat or refrigerate and reheat?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to make these. Can you tell me if you have made these in a regular sized muffin tin? I want appetizers a little bigger than the mini muffin bites and was wondering if having to put more filling in the bigger muffin tin would affect the phyllo, would I need to use more phyllo squares and would the cooking time be different. Thank you!

Joelen Tan said...

Anonymous- I've made them in muffin tins and to do so, double the filling and the amount of phyllo so you have enough layers in each cup. Cooking time would increase to 25-30 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.

Anonymous said...

I just doubled the recipe for a large holiday party, and was only able to get 86 of them using rounded 1/2 tablespoons. Also, two inch squares are really too small to provide adequate coverage in the tin, a 2.5 inch would be much better. Filling tastes good, the quantity it makes is just way off.

Marcia said...

Is there a substitute for the feta?

Anonymous said...

Could I just cheat and use pre-made spinach dip?

Joelen Tan said...

Marcia - you could omit the feta and add another 4 oz of cream cheese.

Anonymous - you can use premade spinach dip but add 8oz (1 brick) of cream cheese so it is a bit firm and won't melt out or be too runny when baked.

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