Spanakopita, a Greek pie made with phyllo dough, spinach and feta cheese, can be the centerpiece of a light meal. You can also make spanakopita into individually wrapped triangles and serve as an appetizer. Because the dish requires layering paper-thin, fussy phyllo dough, it can be time-consuming to prepare. You can prepare the pie in advance and freeze it so you have a meal ready to go on busy nights.
Freeze After Baking
You can freeze spanakopita after you bake it, but doing so can mean a less tasty dish when its time to eat it. Baking the pie, then freezing it also wastes time and energy. When you bake the dish, the heat of the oven removes moisture. Reheating the dish removes more moisture, potentially leaving you with a dried out, tasteless pie. If you bake the pie, then freeze it, you are essentially cooking it twice, which isn't necessary.
Freeze Before Baking
Freezing spanakopita before you bake it is the way to go. You can cook the frozen pie directly from the freezer, without thawing it first. Extend the cooking time by about 10 minutes, as the pie will need time to warm up from the frozen state. Before placing the pie in the oven, brush another layer of melted butter or olive oil over the top layer of phyllo dough, to help the pie brown in the oven.
If you don't wrap the pie well before freezing, it will become freezer burned and its quality will suffer. Wrap a large pie in a layer of plastic wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil. You can also wrap the pie in freezer paper, if you have it. If you are freezing individual spanakopita triangles, lay them flat on a baking tray and freeze for an hour. Once they are frozen to the touch, place the triangles in a zip-top, plastic freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Label the packaging with the name of the food and the date.
Place the spanakopita in the freezer as soon as you can after preparing it. Not baking the pie in advance allows you to freeze it as quickly as possible. If you decide to bake, then freeze, let the pie cool in the refrigerator first. Don't freeze the pie while it is still hot from the oven. Keep you freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit to keep the pie as fresh as possible and to reduce the growth of bacteria. Although the pie will technically keep indefinitely in the freezer, its quality will start to decline after three months.
Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.