Green pie from Thessaloniki

Green pie from Thessaloniki

Pastel verde

By
From
Hazana
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

Pastels (pies) or pastelikos (little pies) were traditionally made by the Jews of Thessaloniki for the Sabbath, bar mitzvahs and other special occasions. Most pastels use a simple pastry made from olive oil, flour and water – except for this one, which is always prepared with filo pastry. Pastel verde is usually filled with a mixture of spinach, lettuce, leeks, spring onions and herbs, but other greens can also be used, such as Swiss chard, beet greens, rocket, watercress or young, tender dandelion greens.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
450g mixed greens
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
handful finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
handful finely chopped dill
200g feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs
50g freshly grated parmesan or kefalotyri cheese
salt
freshly ground black pepper
8-9 large sheets fresh or thawed frozen filo pastry
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Method

  1. Wash the greens well, then cut into 1cm slices. Cook in a covered saucepan for 7–8 minutes or until tender – the water on the leaves is sufficient to prevent scorching. Drain well.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and add the spring onions and leek. Cook over a moderate heat until they are starting to turn golden. Add the parsley and dill and cook for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the greens and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  3. Place the feta, eggs and parmesan in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the greens mixture and season the filling with salt and pepper.
  4. Brush a 23cm springform cake tin with olive oil. Place a sheet of filo pastry over the top and brush lightly with olive oil. Repeat until half of the filo pastry sheets have been used. Spoon in the filling. Cover with another sheet of filo pastry and brush lightly with olive oil. Repeat until all the sheets of filo pastry have been used. Tuck in the edges of the filo pastry. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top, then bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 40–45 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven, unclip the tin and serve hot.
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