Cheese Pies from Alonissos, Greece

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I first tried these dangerously tasty goat’s 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 theSporadesgroup islands, and those of neighbouring Skopelos, as both claim they invented these delicacies.

Time:

Serves: 10, enough for 10 as a meze or starter

Ingredients

  • 350g soft, mild rindless goat’s cheese
  • 10 sheets filo pastry, each measuring about 20cm square
  • flourless vegetable oil, for frying
  • olive oil, for frying

 

Method

Keep the remaining filo covered with a damp tea towel while you make each pie, as filo dries out and becomes brittle very fast.

Lay a pastry square out on a work surface. Scatter 35g of the cheese over the pastry, avoiding the left and right hand edges by about 4cm 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.

Pour about 5mm 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.

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, then bringing it up to temperature before adding the next batch of pies. Serve while hot.

Recipe taken from The Islands of Greece by Rebecca Seal

From Crete to Milos, Santorini to Rhodes, each islandof Greeceis as breathtaking as it is unique. Yet there’s one thing they all have in common: a passion for really good food. In The Islands of Greece, Rebecca Seal shares her favourite recipes from her travels, truly celebrating Greece’s regional specialties. Feast on crispy squid, succulent slow-cooked lamb or an array of traditional dips – spicy cheese, Taramasalata, Tztaziki and more – perfect for scooping up with homemade flatbreads. For a sweet treat, Rebecca’s walnut baklava rolls are impossible to resist, and are perfect with a strong, black coffee. Beautiful photographs by Steven Joyce compliment the delicious recipes in the book, capturing the magic and allure of these stunning islands.

You can purchase The Islands of Greece at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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