Phyllo tartlets with spinach, pumpkin, feta and pine nuts

Phyllo tartlets with spinach, pumpkin, feta and pine nuts

These yummy tartlets are similar to the famous Greek pie, Spanakopita, which is made with light and flaky phyllo (filo) pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese. The addition of the roast pumpkin and pine nuts add a sweetness and nuttiness that complements the spinach and feta perfectly.

We love eating them for lunch or a light dinner served with salad, but they’re also great for breakfast or brunch. You can also make them ahead of time, and then reheat them in the oven to heat through and crisp up before serving. We like to offer them as finger food with drinks, or serve them as an appetizer. You can also make the tartlets as big or small as you want — instead of 12 little ones, make four individual tarts, or one large one.

If you want to change them up a bit, you can use sweet potato instead of pumpkin, and replace the dill with other chopped fresh herbs like parsley or basil, or use dried rosemary, oregano or thyme instead. You can also add chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes, or cook some diced bacon with the onion. If you’re not a fan of feta cheese, then use ricotta, cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, or even blue cheese, or a combination.

As tasty as these tartlets are, they do require a fair bit of preparation. But if you’re organized they come together surprisingly easily, and there’s nothing more satisfying than home-baked pastries.

Phyllo tartlets with spinach, pumpkin, feta and pine nuts
Serves 4
Roasted pumpkin, spinach and creamy feta cheese encased in delicate phyllo pastry, topped with pine nuts and baked until golden.
6 phyllo (filo) pastry sheets
2 cups peeled, diced pumpkin or winter squash
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion — finely chopped
8 oz (230g) fresh spinach — stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 oz (115g) feta cheese — crumbled
1 tablespoon butter — melted
2 tablespoons pine nuts
PREHEAT oven to 350°F/180°C. TOSS the diced pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place in a single layer on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes. WHILE the pumpkin bakes, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. COOK the onion for 6 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for 4 minutes, stirring regularly. STIR in the dill, salt and pepper and remove from the heat. STIR in the crumbled feta and baked pumpkin (keep the oven heated to 350°F/180°C) and set aside. COMBINE the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the melted butter in a small bowl. PLACE 2 phyllo sheets side-by-side on a work surface and brush each sheet evenly with the butter-oil mix. Place 2 more sheets on top and brush with butter-oil, then repeat once more. CUT each stack into six 5-inch (12.5 cm) squares, for a total of 12 stacks with 3 sheets each. LIGHTLY grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan with the butter-oil mix. PLACE each square phyllo stack into a muffin cup, pressing gently to mould the pastry into the bottom. SPOON ¼ cup of the spinach-pumpkin filling into each and fold the extra pastry back over the filling, roughly crumpling around the edges so that the filling is still exposed. BRUSH the edges with the remaining butter-oil mix. SPRINKLE pine nuts in the middle of each tart. BAKE for 22 minutes, then remove from the oven, and transfer the tarts from the muffin pan to a cooling rack. LET cool slightly then serve.
This is one of the recipes from our cookbook The MediterrAsian Way.