Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yesterday With My Children We Made.... Spinach, Mushrooms and Ricotta Filo

French people eat a lot of Tartes Salées (or savory quiches). From the traditional Quiche Lorraine to any other variation (more coming to this blog soon), it's an easy dinner/lunch option that French tend to cook a lot. There are even restaurants dedicated to Tartes Salées in France and some come up with wonderful combinations. Because Tartes Salées are so ingrained in the French diet, agro-businesses have come up with already-prepared dough to make the whole process easier and faster. You can now find an incredible choice of pâtes (doughs) in a normal-size supermarket. The three main pâtes are: pâte brisée, pâte sablée and pâte feuilletée (in addition to pizza dough and now bread dough). Most Tartes Salées are made with a pâte brisée, although some cooks prefer to serve them on a pâte feuilletée; pâte sablée is mostly used for sweet fruit tartes.
Even if some families still make their own dough, they might always have a pre-made one in the fridge, au cas où. With the influence of North-Africans in France, feuilles de brick (brick dough)  is now readily available in supermarkets as well. However, Filo has not made it to the average French family refrigerator yet. I don't know why. Maybe because it's so close to pâte feuilletée? Most likely because there is not much of a Greek/Turkish influence in French cuisine.
I started cooking with Filo while in the US and have been enjoying using Filo in pastry or savory dish once in a while. And because unlike la pâte brisée, I don't make my own Filo (would not know how to in the first place!!),  I always have some Filo in the freezer! I don't use it that often because whatever you make with Filo is relatively loaded with butter time-consuming. It's not like you only open your box of pâte brisée, whisk a few ingredients for the batter and put your tarte salée in the oven in less than 5 minutes. With Filo, you have to brush the sheets with butter and depending on what you are making, it can take a while.

Since I had Filo available and left-over Ricotta cheese from the Veal Ricotta meatballs I had made earlier in the week, I decided to make what look like Spanakopita, except that I used Ricotta instead of Feta cheese, left the eggs out and added mushrooms for added vegetables. So nothing like the authentic Spanakopita you would eat in a Greek family but a delicious dish nonetheless! My children enjoyed themselves brushing the Filo sheets with butter! See, it's like they were able to paint but without worrying about painting on the table! They were really impressed by the way I managed to make triangles (or what looked like triangles) out of the dough. It was somehow magic... and on top of that, it tasted really good! Worth every minute of my time cleaning the melted butter that did not make it to the Filo sheets our time together in the kitchen! So, just for that, I'll keep stocking on Filo! Bon Appétit!
- 1 small onion, minced
- Fresh (or frozen) spinach, rinsed
- A few mushrooms, washed and cut into tiny pieces
- Ricotta cheese (about 2/3 of a cup)
- Butter for the Filo
- Olive oil, salt and black pepper
- Filo dough

  • In a saute pan, saute the onion in olive oil. Add mushroom and spinach and cook for 5 minutes and set aside.
  • Add ricotta cheese, salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 F
  • Melt some butter and start brushing one Filo sheet.
  • Place a new Filo sheet on top of the one you just brushed with butter and brush the new one. Add another 2 sheets using the same process (4 in total). Cut the sheets into 4/8 rectangles (depending on how big you want the triangles to be).  You will have enough to make 4/8 "triangles".
  • Place some of the filling in one corner and start folding. You can watch the following Video to help you!
  • Repeat with the other triangles
  • Lay the triangles in a baking dish/sheet. 
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
My Personal Comments:
  • Filo dough tends to dry when exposed to air. If you are not going to work fast, keep it moist with a damp cloth on the sheets you are not using.
  • I tend to think that smaller triangles are easier and more fun to eat for children. They also tend not to focus on what's inside!


  1. This looks fabulous. Lucky your children are old enough to help brush the dough. My kids would just be a hinderance at this stage as most stuff end up on the floor:-) This is funny on the weekend not so much during the work week:-)

  2. These look yummy. I sometimes use lavash, a thin flaky bread, instead of filo dough in something similar. Okay, it doesn't give the same flaky, crunchy result but it reduces the butter as well as the time.

  3. Filo dough anything is such a treat in our house- love that you made this as a family. Wonderful recipe.