Cheese pies from Alonissos

Cheese pies from Alonissos

By
From
The Islands of Greece
Makes
10, enough for 10 as a meze or starter
Photographer
Steven Joyce

I first tried – far too many – of these dangerously tasty goats’ cheese pies on one of my earliest trips to Greece, just after I finished university. I remember packing a little picnic of a few of them and some watermelon and hiring a boat down the coast to an inaccessible and deserted beach with black sand.

There is a little friendly rivalry between the residents of Alonissos, a small and relatively unspoiled island in the Sporades group islands, and those of neighbouring Skopelos, as both believe they invented these delicacies.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
350g soft, mild rindless goats’ cheese
10 sheets filo pastry, each measuring about 20 cm square
flavourless vegetable oil, for frying
olive oil, for frying

Method

  1. Keep the remaining filo covered with a damp tea towel while you make each pie, as filo dries out and becomes brittle very fast.
  2. Lay a pastry square out on a work surface. Scatter 35 g of the cheese over the pastry, avoiding the left and right hand edges by about 4 cm on each side. Working from the furthest edge of the pastry, turn the pastry down over the cheese, so it covers half the remaining pastry. Do the same with the bottom edge, so the cheese is completely covered. Pinch together both the right- and left-hand edges of the pastry and pull one end round to coil it into a spiral; be gentle or the pastry will rip.
  3. Pour about 5 mm each of the vegetable and olive oils into a wide pan with high sides placed over a high heat. When it is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Using a wide spatula, slide the pastry spirals into the hot oil, in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan. If it looks as though any of them might unravel, place the loose end of the spiral against the edge of the frying pan; as soon as it starts to crisp up it will hold its shape. Fry for about 4 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on the bottom. Using the spatula and a wooden spoon, very carefully flip the cheese pies over, being sure not to splash yourself with hot oil. Fry the other sides until golden brown all over and crisp on the edges. Remove from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Keep warm while you cook the remaining pastries, adding more oil if necessary, bringing it up to temperature before adding the next batch of pies. Serve while hot.
Tags:
The Islands of Greece
Rebecca
Seal
Greek
Greece
Europe
European
Mediterranean
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