Pomegranate and Pecan Spanakopita

by Chef Molly McCook

Total Prep Time

Over an hour

Servings

12

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Ingredients

Spanakopita
1 cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
(or 1 cup POM POMS Fresh Arils)
5 oz. chèvre4 oz. Gruyere, shredded
4 oz. grana padano or parmigiano, grated
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
pinch of black pepper1 egg
½ cup pecans, chopped
12 sheets of filo dough, cut in half lengthwise
4 oz. butter, melted and slightly cooled
NOTE: When working with filo dough, make sure to always keep it covered with a slightly damp cloth to avoid drying out.

Salad
¼ cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
(or ¼ cup POM POMS Fresh Arils)
½ cup picked flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
sprinkle of salt and fresh ground black pepper  

Preparation

Spanakopita:
Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.* Place the cheeses, herbs, black pepper and egg in a food processor and pulse until a smooth paste is formed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and gently fold in 1 cup of arils and the chopped pecans. Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat and set aside. Place one strip of filo on a clean work surface and gently brush with the melted butter. Layer a second strip of filo on top and brush that with butter as well. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling mixture about 1" from the bottom of the strip. Pull the bottom right corner diagonally over the filling to form a triangular shape. Fold the bottom left corner of the triangle over itself along the straight edge (flag fold). Continue folding this way until the entire strip of filo is used, forming a sealed triangular bundle; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat filling and folding the remaining strips of filo. Once all of the bundles are prepared on the baking sheet, place in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the chilled spanakopita for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm as an appetizer or atop a simple salad for lunch. For a pop of color on the plate, garnish with a simple parsley and pomegranate salad.

Salad:
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and taste for seasoning. Place a small bundle next to two crossed spanakopita on each plate.

*To prepare fresh arils, score 2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1¼ cups of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.) 

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