Prasopita (Greek Lenten Pie)
December, 2002

Serves 4-6 / In Greece, phyllo-pastry pies filled with white cheese and greens are sold in every bakery throughout Lent, the forty days when meat is forbidden during the preparation for Easter. Throughout the growing season, Greeks gather dozens of wild greens, whose refreshing bitterness is considered blood cleansing. Serve with Kalamata olives for nibbling and a crisp lettuce salad dressed with lemon juice and sea salt.

1 package (about 1 pound) phyllo pastry
4-5 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium-size leeks or 8 scallions, finely sliced, including greens
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mixed wild greens, beet greens, or baby spinach, rinsed and shredded
8 ounces light or regular cream cheese
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or grated

1. To make the filling, in a heavy pan gently cook the leeks, garlic, dill, mint, salt, and pepper in the oil over medium-low heat. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until all the moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
2. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 9-inch, round cake pan. Line with 5-6 layers of phyllo, brushing between the layers with olive oil, overlapping the sheets and leaving the flaps long enough to fold over to make a cover.
3. Beat the cream cheese with the feta cheese and mix in the cooled greens mixture. Season well.
4. Spread the mixture evenly over the phyllo layers. Cover with a layer or two of phyllo and fold over the flaps to enclose the filling completely. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry browns and crisps and the filling has set. Serve at room temperature.