Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tried and True Favorite Family Hand-Me-Down Recipes for Easter Kiki Lazaridis: Spanakopita

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tried and True Favorite Family Hand-Me-Down Recipes for Easter Kiki Lazaridis: Spanakopita

Article excerpt

Spanakopita is not going to make it to Kiki Lazaridis' Easter table until May 1 because that's when the Greek Orthodox celebrate the holiday.

She did not have any written recipe about how many eggs or pounds of spinach and phyllo should be used when making a spanakopita pie, which is actually baked in a rectangular pan, or for how long it should be baked. She instead learned to make the Greek classic from observing her mother prepare it and from helping out in the kitchen at the Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery in Saxonburg.

"My mother and the monastery use the same ingredients but their preparation methods are different," Mrs. Lazaridis says. "My mother does not saute the onions while the monastery does."

The Forest Hills resident wrote down both their recipes, compared them and then came up with her own version. She sautes the onions and typically uses frozen spinach. She also uses a lot more cheese than either of the recipes. "For a richer taste, I add ricotta, Romano, feta and cottage cheeses," she says.

The best part of it, Mrs. Lazaridis says, is that you can freeze the pie uncooked for six months.

When she made it for the first time, the spanakopita did not come out well. "It had way too much spinach. But the second time around, I pretty much got it," she says. Now she makes it for every Christmas and Easter, and anytime there's a church fundraiser.

Mrs. Lazaridis' version is so popular that even her 75-year-old mother prefers it to her own. …

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