Easy Greek phyllo pie. Does it frighten you to make one? You are right, it sounds scary and time-consuming. But with this recipe you will change your mind.
This recipe was a little bit difficult to be written. Why? Because the recipe comes from my mom, and my mom has a strong developed intuition in the kitchen. She cooks everything by using sensation of touch and her eyes. Oh her eyes.
I admit I had to make a phyllo three times to get the ultimate result. Four, if I also count the one with my mother next to me. I have learned when my dough needs more moisture and when not.
Three secrets for the perfect phyllo dough
For making pies I use type 55% flour. Type 55 is medium in protein content, and is ideal for making bread, puff pastries, and baguettes. The 55 refers to the amount of mineral content that is left after burning the flour i.e. T55 has about 0.55% mineral content.
Lucky me, I did not have many tests regarding the kind of fat that should be used in the phyllo dough. Basically, I did not try any fat because my mom Zoe did all the work. I trust so much her experience and she suggests one thing: hard margarine.
Margarine was created around 1800 in France in response to a challenge by Emperor Napoleon III to create a butter substitute from beef tallow for the armed forces and lower classes. Modern margarine is made mainly of refined vegetable oil and water, and may also contain milk.
3. Rolling the phyllo
For rolling the phyllo, I don’t use flour but corn starch. Corn starch, is – obviously – made from corn and used in sauces or creams. The use of corn starch is recommended as the phyllo is more flexible. Of course, this doesn’t mean that flour is prohibited.
Easy Greek phyllo pie
- 250 ml lukewarm water
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500 gr flour type 55%
- 180 gr margarine, hard (for crispier phyllo you can increase to 200 gr)
- cornstarch for rolling phyllo
- 2 Tbsp semolina (for the filling of the pie)
MAKING THE DOUGH
- In a stand mixer, using hook attachment, add the flour, olive oil, vinegar, salt and water and beat at low speed for about 5 minutes
- When the dough comes together nicely and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, it is ready.
- The dough should be soft and elastic. If it is not, add a pinch of flour.
- When ready cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes for the dough to rest.
ROLLING THE PHYLLO
- First, remember to melt the margarine. The margarine has to be melted ahead in order to be at room temperature when it will be used.
- Once you are ready, transfer the dough is transferred to the working surface and divide into 2 pieces. We will use these two pieces in order to create two main layers for the pie, the bottom layer and the top. Because the bottom layer should be a little thicker, we do not divide the dough equally but 55% -45%.
- Divide the smallest piece (meaning the top layer) into 5 equal mini balls, and the bottom layer into 6 equal mini balls. Sicne we will start with the top layer first, set the 6 balls aside and cover them with a clean towel.
- Sprinkle some cornstarch on to your working surface and start to roll out the first of the 5 pieces of dough. You want to make a disc with a diameter of 20 cm.
- In a dish, sprinkle some cornstarch and place the first disc. Drizzle one tablespoon of the melted margarine gently with a brush on top of the disc and continue with the remaining 4 balls. Do not add melted margarine on the last one, sprinkle some cornstarch. Cover the dish with with plastic wrap and then again sprinkle some cronstarch and start rolling the last 6 mini balls. Repeat the whole process followed for the first layer.
- After finishing with the last disc, sprinkle with a cornstarch, cover with a plastic wrap and place the plate in the refrigerator. For rolling out the phyllo the margarine has to be solid so we place the discs on the refrigerator.
- Leave the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. If you have plenty of time two hours it is even better as it is safer for margarine.
- Sprinkle some cornstarch on your working surface. By using a thin rolling pin, roll out the 6 sheets together. Have in mind to roll out phyllo at a slightly larger dimension compared to your baking tray.
- By using your rolling pin transfer the phyllo to your baking tray. Let your phyllo to cover the sides of the baking tray. Spread semolina on the top of the phyllo and then add your filling to the tray and spread it out so that’s even. Semolina will absorb excess moisture by the filling.
- Repeat the process (step 8) with the second phyllo in order to create the top sheet of the pie.
- Gently transfer the second phyllo on the top of the filling and fold the flaps or excess from the sides, you can crumble them a little.
- Cut the top of the pie with a sharp knife and drizzle with the melted margarine (you can also use olive oil for this step if you have already used all the melted margarine). Gently brush the entire surface with the fat.
- Bake at the oven’s lower rack, at 200 ° C (preheated) for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden-brown.
- When ready, remove from oven and place your pita on a cooling rack. This will make your bottom of your pita crispier.
- I have used a 30 cm diameter baking pan (a 35 x 30 cm baking pan is also fine).
- Melt the margarine before starting rolling out the phyllo sheets. The melted margarine has to be at room temperature, not hot.
- Do not overuse cornstarch, the dough has to have moisture.
- Remember to roll out firts the top sheet and then bottom sheet. Also, spread some melted margarine on your baking pan.
This was my recipe for Easy Greek phyllo pie. If you love authentic flavors and you are a fan of slow-living then you have to try it. Pay the necessary attention in finding good quality ingredients, flour and fat, and you won’t regret for making it.