Ania’s “Hortopita” wild greens pie

Ania’s “Hortopita” wild greens pie

I’ve been trying to master my own filo pastry for years now. Or the idea of it, to be exact. You see, although I’ve had plenty of people show me, I never actually got round to …well, em…doing it. I got very good at talking myself out of it, while still saying that I wanted to learn.

Until I asked my friend Ania to help me. She showed me her MIL’s recipe, mixed the ingredients and asked me to knead the dough and see if it needs more flour. Then we left it rest while we collected garden greens. When we returned, Ania floured the counter, split the dough in half and pulled out a rod. She then turned to me and said, “there you go, now roll it out” And I did, as simple as that. It didn’t even occur to me to protest or to worry that I wouldn’t be able to.

Many of us first enter the kitchen not knowing how to boil an egg. Others just look in from the outside, finding it too complicated and messy. Believe me, it’s not. It’s more our fear of making a mistake that’s holding us back than the effort or the materials required. It always helps to have kind and effective friends like Ania and a good tested recipe. The easiest recipe for a homemade filo pastry, measured and tested:

For the sheet

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Hot water, just enough to bind (<200 ml)

Stir all the ingredients together with a fork until they bind together and the dough cools slightly. Knead it a little until you have a relatively supple, homogeneous dough and let it rest covered. If it sticks to your hands, put some flour on your hands and knead until smooth. Add as little as possible to avoid hardening the dough.

For the filling 

  • 1 kilo of mixed greens (spinach, beetroot leaves, mallow etc.) preferably from the farmers’ market or even the garden (!)
  • 5 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 leek or 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 handful crumbled feta cheese
  • olive oil

Wilt the greens in a pot with the water left on the leaves from washing them, along with the onions and the leek for 5 minutes. Oil a large baking tray and roll out the bottom filo sheet using half the dough on a floured surface with a rod. Roll onto the rod, line the tray and and grease it lightly with olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Add to the stuffing 2 eggs, a handful of feta cheese, a little salt and pepper. Stir well and spread on the filo sheet. Roll out the top sheet in the same way, roll onto the rod, then lay over the filling. Pinch the two filo sheets together to close all around. Bake for 40′ until golden brown.

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