Okay, the title is definitely a mouthful but it’s worth the effort. Once you’ve tasted this pie your tastebuds will be so delighted they’ll want you to scream with delight…but of course your mouth will be full – so resist the urge!
This is one of those recipes I use when friends are coming over for lunch or I fancy a quick midweek meal. It’s great hot or cold and is always welcome on a picnic. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from but I have adapted it over the years. Sometimes I add a shredded, poached chicken breast but it’s actually very nice as a completely vegetarian dish.
What I have discovered today – sadly, is that I have become extremely dependent on a specific brand of ready-made filo pastry. Today I had no option but to use a shop’s own brand and I hated it…I really, REALLY hated it.
Filo pastry is delicate at the best of times but this stuff was like tissue paper. It ripped way too easily and it seemed to dry out in no time at all. I always brush the sheets with flavoured olive oil and the pie turns a beautiful, golden brown and the filo is light and flaky. This stuff hardly browned at all and midway through baking I opted to add a little bit of melted butter to see if it would help – it didn’t.
When it came time to remove the pie it stuck to the pan eventhough I had greased it lightly. The pastry is also rock hard in places and seems slightly undercooked in others. I have never had this problem before. I know it’s a poor chef who blames their tools, or in this case their pastry, but honestly it just wasn’t right and I certainly won’t be using it again!
Please don’t let my grumbles put you off. This recipe is worth trying and although this one isn’t as pretty as it could be it still tastes wonderful.
8-10 sheets of ready made filo pastry
500g spinach, gently wilted and with the water pressed out
2 roasted red peppers (I use jarred antipasti peppers and reserve the oil to brush on the filo)
3 roasted artichokes (love that antipasti!)
200g feta cheese, cut into small chunks
2 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg
In a large saucepan, gently wilt the spinach with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Squeeze all the excess liquid out and set spinach aside in a large bowl to cool
Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
Cut feta into small chunks and add to bowl with spinach
Cut roasted peppers and artichokes into chunks and add to bowl with spinach and feta
Finally add the beaten eggs and mix everything together well
Lightly grease a large springform cake pan with some oil reserved from the peppers (antipasti)
Gently unfold the filo sheets and start adding them to the pan making sure they overlap and stick out of the pan quite a ways (these overhanging edges will fold over and make a lovely decorative top to the pie)
When you’ve added all the sheets (about 8-10 should do) add the spinach mixture
Start to gently fold the filo sheets over the filling and brush each sheet with some of the reserved oil as you go (don’t lay the sheets down tightly – you want them loose and crinkly so they remain light, flaky and pretty)
Bake for approx 25 minutes or until pastry is golden and cooked through
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then transfer onto a board / serving platter
Enjoy hot or cold!
Watch as 500g of spinach miraculously becomes 1.5 Tablespoons of spinach
Squeeze all the water out
Ready to start the mixture
Mix everything together really well
Oil the springform cake tin and get ready to start adding the filo
A homage to Christo
This filo is impossible to work with
I’m going to need therapy after this
Brush the oil on and hope for the best
I’ve made better…
It’s never been this ‘liquidy’ before…I’m going to blame the filo. I’m going to blame EVERYTHING on the filo…
It still tastes good though!