Spanakopita Tarte Soleil (Spinach and Feta Pie)
This spanakopita tarte au Soleil or sunflower as this pretty tart is often called, is not just impressive to look at but makes for the tastiest appetizer, snack and even a great addition to your brunch table. I’m partial to spinach pies and can’t get enough of all the flavours that make up spanakopita. From the spinach to the fresh herbs and the feta - I love them all - together they make up this delicious savoury filling for this crowd pleasing pie. It’s also extremely easy to make. Be sure to watch the video tutorial and whip one up today.
This sunny pie is more traditionally known as a Tarte au Soleil and is a fun French appetizer made with a savory filling (most often pesto) and puff pastry. The pastry is sliced and twisted to create a large rounded tart that once baked, resembles a giant sun or as some call a sunflower. This Spanakopita version is sure to become a family favorite and can even be a meal in itself. There are many meals in my life that were comprised of a slice or two of spanakopita and a side salad. The sunflower shape makes it particularly attractive and fun to bring to the table.
This looks like it might be complicated to make but trust me it’s not. The filling makes it a bit messy to work with but don’t worry about it the result will be beautiful. Just take your time and use both hand to help with twisting each spoke - one to twist and the other to hold and support the layers and filling together. You can technically make more cuts than you see here making more spokes to twist but with a filling like this I would keep it to this amount as it’s more manageable. This Tarte or pie can easily be made with any filling - both sweet and savoury. If you were making this with pesto or let’s say nutella - the filling would be much thinner and easier to manage so I would cut the pastry into even more pieces giving this pie an even more intricate looking pattern. It would also be great with a tapenade or sun dried tomato paste or even just a simple herb garlic butter.
The key thing when working with very high butter ratio dough like puff pastry is to know when to chill it. Soft gooey dough is not easy to twist and keep together and can be frustrating to work with - if it gets close to that point juts stop what you are doing and pop the whole pie in the freezer for a few minutes to cool and once it’s cool just pick up where you left off. The next thing that will help is to make sure your spinach is squeezed completely dry - it’s not fun making the tarte/pie with a very wet filling.
You will love the flavours in this spanakopita tarte soleil. Traditional Greek flavours done French style. You will have fun making this and you will love serving it and watching everyone dig right in to it. You can serve it as is or with a dipping sauce of choice - I served mine with tzatziki. Can’t wait for you guys to make it!
For the pastry
- 1 454 gram (approx 16 oz) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) thawed
- 1 egg whisked for egg wash
- Flour for dusting
For the filling
- 2 283 gram (approx 10 oz)packages frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry and chopped
- 2 scallions sliced fine
- 2 cloves of garlic minced fine or grated
- 2 Tbsp. dill chopped
- 2 tbsp. parsley chopped
- ⅔ cup feta crumbled
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
- 1 egg
- Sesame seeds for sprinkling over sunflower (optional)
- In a medium bowl mix together all the filling ingredients and set aside (can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container)You should have approx 2 to 2½ cups spinach mixture, if you are measuring.
- Unfold thawed puff pastry sheets and use a round object (I used a large dinner plate) that’s approx 10–12” in diameter and use as a stencil to cut the pastry into rounds. Place one of the pastry sheets, on a flour dusted work surface and roll out until it’s at least 1–2” larger than your round object.and slide onto parchment lined baking sheet. Chill while you repeat with the second sheet of pastry.
- Brush egg wash all along circumference of the one pastry round that is on the baking sheet; reserve remaining egg wash for later. Spread spinach mixture over, leaving a ½” border. Place second round of pastry on top and press gently to seal. Using a small cup or shot glass (approx 2” in diameter), make an indent in the very center. Chill pastry for approx 10–20 minutes to make it easier to cut.
- Once pastry is cool, cut pastry into 4 quadrants, stopping when you reach the center circle. Cut each quadrant in half, then in half again, so that you have 16 spokes.
- Working with one spoke at a time, pull gently away from the center (to extend the length of each piece), then twist to expose the spinach insides. Aim for 3 twists. (If at any point the pastry gets too sticky to manage stick it back in the fridge or freezer to chill a few minutes in between) Once done chill in freezer until cold, 10–15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in middle of oven. Brush tarte all over with reserved egg wash; sprinkle center with with sesame seeds if using then bake until risen and well browned all over, 25-30 minutes. Then enjoy!