For the past 15 years, I have been leading cooking classes on traditional Greek cooking techniques such as filo pastry and regional foods that showcase the Mediterranean diet. Angela’s Kitchen Cooking School classes are small, hands on and where possible use ingredients that are organic and sustainable. Cooking classes are a wonderful way to explore, inspire and be inspired, learn and just have fun with food. As a teacher of adults, and a passionate cook I can think of no better way to bring these two ingredients together than through cooking classes. The classes focus on using techniques and recipes that are easy to recreate at home, are full of flavour and are even healthy! Read more at www.angelaskitchen.com.au
Angela is, also, part of SBS Greek radio, where she has a weekly spot presenting her recipes. The program is in Greek and is presented during the Friday afternoon show (4 - 6pm). A podcast from each week is posted on the SBS website too and the recipes are available in English, so do check it out!
I created this recipe specifically for the Greek Easter Feast initiative organised by Grecian Purveyor, as it brings together some of my favourite ingredients that celebrate the season and Greek flavours. Figs which are currently in abundance, Greek and local cheeses as well as iconic Greek olive oil and honey. Wrapping these flavours in home made filo creates a decadent stater for a Greek Easter feast.
Blue cheese, red saffron honey & fig tyropita
(Makes 4 individual pies)
250 g plain flour (bakers flour if available)
2 tsp vinegar
125 ml water
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
120g kefalotyri cheese
150g blue cheese
6 fresh figs
1. Place flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil and vinegar.
3. Mix to form a dough. You can use a mixer with a dough hook for this stage, or place dough on a smooth surface and knead until very smooth (about 10 minutes).
4. Place dough in a bowl and coat with a little olive oil (to stop drying out) cover with a tea towel and rest for at least one hour.
5. Cut the dough into 3 pieces and shape each one into an oblong shape (approx. 10 x 20cm) making it as flat as you can, using your hands. Oil each piece and make into a pile of 3 (rest for 15 mins).
6. Roll the pile into a long piece of pastry to about 5mm thickness. Using your hands gently stretch the pastry working around each side until it is very thin and you can see through it. If needed, drizzle the pastry with olive oil to ensure it remains soft and easy to stretch. The filo piece should now be about 70 x 100cm. Cut the sheet into 4 even sized pieces.
Heat oven to 200C.
7. To prepare the filling, cut the kefalotyri cheese into thin pieces or thick shavings about 2cm long. Crumble the blue cheese and reserve 30gms of it to garnish the pies at the end.
8. Take one filo piece and brush it with olive oil and add ¼ of the kefalotyri and ¼ of the blue cheese along the length of its base. Roll this up to form a sausage shape making sure you squeeze slightly to make it as tight as possible (don’t worry about little tears, they become air pockets and add crunch!). Place this a baking tray lined with baking paper, and roll it around itself to form a spiral. Repeat with remaining ingredients. You will have 4 similar sized spirals.
9. Brush each with olive oil, wet your hands and sprinkle the top of the pie with water. Bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes).
10. While the pies are baking, heat a small frypan and add the butter. Slice each fig into 3 to 4 pieces. Fry the fig pieces in the butter until just caremilsed.
To finish the dish, take each warm spiral and add slices of figs on top. Drizzle with honey and garnish with some of the reserved blue cheese. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve. This makes a wonderful light lunch served with a green salad or on its own as a starter.