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Posts Tagged ‘Filo pastry’

We loved this deep-filled veggie pie and it looks so bright with the broken eggs on the top. Excellent for lunch or dinner or to pack up for a picnic. Leftovers are good too. Use a 23cm round baking tin. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a white you’d be happy having on a picnic; something with a bit of body and dry, minerality. For us it was an old vine Bourgogne Aligote from Domaine Gueguen in Chablis. Full and round with apricot and apple flavours and a saline, chalky twist at the end. Tasting this we wonder why Aligote isn’t more popular as it is delicious.

Spinach, egg and filo pie – serves 8

  • 70g butter
  • 1 small packet of filo pastry

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 50g butter
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 small bunch of dill, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 160g  cup yoghurt
  • 50g plain flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 50g finely grated pecorino
  • 50g feta

Melt the 50g portion of butter for the filling in a large saucepan. Add the spinach and cover, then cook for a few minutes until wilted. Drain in a colander to drain off the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and add the dill, scallions, thyme, dried mint, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix well. Add the yoghurt, flour, 4 of the eggs, the pecorino and feta, and mix well to combine.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Melt the 70g portion of butter for the pastry and take the filo sheets out of the packet. Brush the first sheet with the melted butter and lay another sheet on top. Lift these 2 sheets into the round baking tin, allowing a little overhang. Repeat this process and put another layer in the tin, slightly overlapping the first. Continue this way until the tin is fully lined with pastry, with pastry over hanging on all sides. You will probably need about 4 double sheets.

Fill the pastry lined tin with the spinach mixture, then fold the filo overhang to cover the edges of the filling but don’t cover the whole surface. Scrunch the pastry to form a crunchy rim and brush with a little more butter. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the tin from the oven and crack the remaining 4 eggs over the surface. Aim to have an egg yolk in each quarter and for the egg white to be evenly distributed. Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the yolk into the filling but don’t push it in too much. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until the spinach mixture and eggs are set and the pastry crispy.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2018.)

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The flavours in this little Middle Eastern pie are stunning. You can make the filling up to a couple of days ahead and keep it in the fridge, the problem with this is trying to resist eating it. If your filo pastry is frozen you should defrost it in the fridge overnight, defrosting in haste causes the sheets to stick together. You can also re-freeze any sheets that you don’t use. Sarit and Itamar suggest serving with a rocket and orange salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. We had a green salad which worked fine too.

Wine Suggestion: we chose the Manciat-Poncet Pouilly Vinzelles which is a classic Chardonnay with good weight and a delightful balance of perfectly ripe fruit, vibrant freshness and judiciously handled oak. Aromatically broad and rich to counter the rich chicken flavours and natural minerality giving it all lift and vitality.

Chicken pastilla – serves 4-6

  • 6 chicken thighs (about 800g)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 100g pitted dates
  • 3 onions (about 300g), sliced thinly
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 240ml water
  • 1 packet of filo pastry (250g-270g)
  • 60g melted butter

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put the chicken thighs into the pan, skin-side down, then season with 1 tsp of the salt and the pepper. After about 10-15 minutes the skin should be crisp and nicely coloured. Turn the thighs over and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes, then transfer to an oven-proof pan that can fit them all in one layer. Add the dates.

Add the sliced onions to the fat in the frying pan and add another tsp of salt. Cook until soft and starting to turn golden, then add the cinnamon stick, dried chilli and ras el hanout. Mix well together and cook for 30 seconds, then add the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, pour over the chicken thighs, then cover the pan and put in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.

Check that the chicken is cooked, it should just fall off the bone. If not, return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Set the chicken aside until cool enough to handle.

Pour the contents of the pan into a sieve over a bowl, keep the cooking liquid. Pull the chicken from the bones and discard the skin, bones and any gristly bits. Remove the chilli and cinnamon stick. Mix the chicken with the cooked dates and onions, then add just enough of the liquid to bind it all together. You can prepare this part up to 2 days in advance and keep in the fridge until needed. Keep the extra liquid too and serve as a sauce on the side.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.

Open the filo pastry packet and lay it out on a surface.

Carefully peel off the first sheet and brush with the melted butter, then fold into four and set aside (this will form the base of the pastilla).

Peel of the next sheet and butter it, then cover with another sheet and set aside. Repeat with two more sheets, so you have two sheets of double thickness.

Place one doubled sheet lengthways on the table, put the folded square in the centre of it, then lay the other doubled sheet on top at 90° to the first sheet, so you have a cross shape that is thickest in the middle.

Carefully lift the pastry and place in a 22-24cm ovenproof frying pan letting the sides hang over the edge. Fill with the chicken mixture and fold the corners over to cover it. It looks nice if its a bit crumpled so no need to be to neat about it. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the melted butter and put into the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the pan around so it all crisps evenly, then cook for another 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, heat the cooking liquid in a small pan.

Serve immediately with a jug of the sauce to pour over and a salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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Beetroot & feta samosas

These are so simple to make and you can stash them in the freezer and cook from frozen so great for a snack or starter with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve tried these with a few different wines and prefer them if the wine is chilled. Quite a few whites worked really well, but interestingly the best combination was a chilled red made from Grignolino from the Piedmont in norther Italy. Light bodied and yet dry with hints of (in balance) pippy bitterness and structured, light tannins. From a bottle a friend brought over and made by Olim Bauda; a nice discovery.

Beetroot & feta samosas – makes 18-24 samosas

  • 400g fresh beetroot
  • 200g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds), to garnish

Boil the beetroot until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, this can take an hour or more depending on what size they are.

Trim the beetroot and peel off the skin (you might like to wear gloves), then roughly mash.

Put the mashed beetroot into a hot frying pan over a medium heat and heat for 5 minutes to remove excess moisture, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the feta, scallions, coriander, green chilli, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and salt.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the beetroot mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the beetroot mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

 

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Spanakopita

We can’t get enough of this classic Greek dish and we especially like this herby version by Felicity Cloake. Serve with salad.

Wine Suggestion: we think this works best with crisp, herbal white wines. As we couldn’t find a Greek Assyrtiko we chose instead the Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Friulano and Chardonnay from north-eastern Italy.  White flowers, peaches, crisp yellow apple and citrus aromas and flavours are followed by a good texture, vitality and fresh acidity.

Spanakopita – serves 6

  • 1kg frozen whole leaf spinach, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion or leek, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 300g feta, crumbled
  • 25g dill, chopped
  • 20g mint, leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 sprigs of oregano, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • nutmeg
  • 250g filo pastry
  • oil, for brushing

Gently fry the onion or leek in the oil until softened, then remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Tip into a large bowl with the feta and herbs.

Squeeze the spinach with your hands until all of the liquid has comes out, then stir into the cheese mix. Add the egg, lemon zest, a splash of oil and a good grating of nutmeg, then mix with your hands. Season lightly (not too much salt).

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.

Brush a 30cm x 25cm baking tin with olive oil, then line with half the filo, brushing each sheet with oil as you go and trying not to press down. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides.

Spoon the filling into the pastry lining, level the top, then put the lid on: repeat the layering process with the rest of the filo pastry. Fold the overhang inwards to form a rim and drizzle with more oil and cut into portions.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and leave to cool slightly before serving.

(Original recipe by Felicity Cloake in The Guardian, Wed 22 Aug 2018)

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