This paspaliara – Greek polenta pie – originates from Thessalia, Greece. It is my mother’s recipe and it’s one of her favourite dishes too. It has a generous base of fine polenta and a delicious filling of spinach, spring onions, dill, sweet trahana, feta and eggs. It is then sprinkled with a layer of polenta on top. The pie’s name, paspaliara, comes from the Greek word paspalizo (πασπαλίζω) which means ‘to sprinkle’!
Make it now and ‘sprinkle’ a little baking magic in your life!.
Paspaliara is a traditional pie from northern Greece, made with a base and top of fine polenta and a filling of spinach, spring onions, dill, sweet trahana, feta and eggs. It is such a delicious and satiating pie, you will want to make it again, and again and again!
- 2 bunches English spinach, cut into ribbons 3cm wide (you can use zucchini flowers; and tender, young zucchini plant leaves for added sweetness)
- 2 bunches spring onions, cut into 4cm lengths
- 3 teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup sweet trahana
- 200g feta cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
- 50 g salted butter, softened for basting
- 3 cups fine polenta
Preparing the filling...
Wash the spinach and spring onions thoroughly to remove any dirt. Drain them gently by holding them in your hands and allowing the water to fall away. Do not squeeze the water out of them. The moisture they hold will help cook the polenta.
Put the greens and salt into a large bowl. Rub and squeeze the greens to release their juices and macerate them a little. Do not discard the juices. (I had todo this in two batches and then combine them into one bowl)
Add the beaten eggs to the greens. Add a little water to the egg bowl to wash out any remaining egg. Add this to the bowl with the greens
Add the salt, trahana, feta, EVOO and the dill and mix well
Preparing the paspaliara...
Baste the base of a medium sized round baking dish (with an internal diameter of 30cm) with the full 50g of butter and no less
Add enough polenta to create a layer about 1.5cm in depth (approximately 2 cups),ensuring no gaps
Spread the filling evenly across the pan and press down firmly on it
Add½ cup of water to the bowl that the filling was in and wash down the sides of bowl to capture any remaining filling. Add this to the baking dish. Note: The filling should be wet enough so that when you press your hand down on it, water rises to the surface
Lightly spread more polenta evenly on top; just enough to cover the greens and ensuring no gaps (approximately 1 cup)
Leave the paspaliara to sit until ALL the polenta on the top looks wet; about 30-60minutes
Baking the paspaliara...
Drizzle the top generously with EVOO (at this point you can freeze the pie and bake it another day without even needing to defrost it)
Bake on the lowest or second lowest level in a fan-forced oven, preheated to 215°C. Bake until the top and base are both golden brown. If the top of the paspaliara browns before the bottom, place a piece of foil on top and change your oven’s setting to only heat the oven from the bottom. Continue to bake until the base is golden brown
Serving the paspaliara...
Slice paspaliara into wedges and serve warm with a Greek salad and your favourite glass of wine! Kali Orexi!
Recipe serves 10-12