A few months ago Mama Despoina (my rocking mum) called to inform me that at a dinner with friends she had a mythical cheese pie. I initially failed to grasp the significance of this since my mum rarely expresses such admiration for food. Even rarer is for her to gobble down THREE PIECES of feta pie in one go. So this was clearly a feta pie I needed to know all about.
A bit of background. By far the most commonly known pie in Greece is the feta pie. I think spinach pie would come second. This thing that the British do with meat pies, kidney pies and the like is incredibly shocking let me tell you. For the Greeks the savoury and traditional pie will have feta, spinach or both. Sure we do ZILLIONS of pies but these are the most common. Anyhow we do the feta pie with filo, or with what we call village pastry or in all sorts of ways. However, the way that I am writing about today is new and amazingly yummy.
The feta pie in a cake tin is a recipe that Mrs. Eleni of Atalanti, Greece created after having seen something similar from some nieces of hers. She saw it, tasted it, changed it, added a bit of her magic and voila! It’s the most amazing pie for kids to make as well, they will surely have loads of fund with turning the filo into hand-held fans. The result is an incredibly impressive feta pie in a cake tin, bouncy, soft and yummy.
There is a video on the Greek side of the blog and at the end of that (about here) Mrs. Eleni sings a Greek folk song called Σ’αγαπώ γιατί είσαι ωραία (S’agapo giati ise orea – I love you because you are beautiful). It’s a really lovely lovely song and she sang it for all the people who are living abroad, with all her love.
Σ’ αγαπώ, σ’ αγαπώ γιατί είσαι ωραία, σ’ αγαπώ γιατί είσαι ωραία, σ’ αγαπώ γιατί είσαι εσύ
Αγαπώ, αγαπώ κι όλο τον κόσμο, αγαπώ κι όλο τον κόσμο, γιατί ζεις κι εσύ μαζί
S’agapo, s’agapo giati ise orea, s’agapo giati ise orea, s’agapo giati ise esi
Agapo, agapo ki olo ton kosmo, agapo ki olo ton kosmo, giati zis ki esi mazi
I love you, I love you because you are beautiful, I love you because you are beautiful, I love you because you are you
I love, I love everyone too, I love everyone too, because you live with them
Isn’t she something?
Without further ado, here goes the photo recipe for those who are not into trying to suss out what all the Greek yammering is all about.
Feta pie in a cake tin by Mrs. Eleni
- 10 filo pastry sheets (one box usually has 10)
- 200 grams. feta cheese cubed or just crushed between your fingers
- 200 grams soft anthotyros (OK, you may not find this abroad. Any soft, unsalted white cheese will do. Try mozzarella, it’s what I use in the UK)
- 2 bell peppers cut in little squares
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 glass of fine semolina
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 glass of milk
- 1/2 glass of olive oil (as always, insist on extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 glass of soda water
- a bit of butter for your cake tin
(see below for all the method photographs)
- Put the feta, anthotyros (or other white cheese) and the peppers in a bowl. Mix together.
- In another bowl mix the baking powder with the semolina and then mix the the cheeses and peppers.
- Grease your cake tin.
- Grab one sheet of filo pastry. Don’t butter it or oil it or anything. Use as it. Spread some of yoru cheese mixture on is, quite thinly (see the photographs below)
- Gather up the filo in a little hand held fan shape (again look at the photographs)
- Place carefully in your cake tin. TIP: Don’t bash it. Gently place
- Repeat until you’ve used all ten of your filo sheets. Place them one on one side and one on the other.
- Preheat your over between 180 to 200 Celsius (go for lower if you oven is a pit from Hell)
- Mix the eggs and then add the milk, olive oil and club soda. Mix again and with a ladle fill the cake tin. It looks a lot but do it slowly and the filo will drinks all of this lovely liquid.
- Bang it in the oven, close the oven door and make the sign of the cross (Mrs. Eleni insists that you have to do this to get a great pie and I’m not going to risk messing up the recipe so there). Leave it in there for half an hour. Check it early and cover loosely with a fit of tin foil if you think it might burn. It’s ready when it’s not stuck to the sides.