Filo pastry is a big piece of dough rolled out in a thin sheet, most commonly used as crust for pies in the Greek Kitchen. The word filo, also met written as phyllo, is Greek and can be translated as layer or sheet. That type of pastry dough is also being used in many Balkan and Middle Eastern Countries.
In Greece, pies are in general savoury although filo dough can also be used for sweet pastries. Greek pies made with Filo pastry are usually filled with cheese, herbs, vegetables, meat or combinations of them.
One of the most popular of the hundreds of variations of Greek pies is Tiropita. Tiropita is a crunchy savoury pie made with one or more Filo pastry sheets used a base, filled with a mix of Greek Feta cheese and eggs and covered with one, or more Filo pastry sheets as a top crust.
In this video you can find out how to make homemade Filo pastry the easy way, since I must inform you that there are numerous ways of producing Filo and most of them are pretty complicated. You will also discover the recipe for delicious Greek savoury feta cheese pie, the notorious Tiropita.
- 1200gr Pastry Flour (plus some extra for dusting)
- 600gr. Feta cheese
- 5 Eggs plus 1 Egg Yolk
- 200 gr. Margarine (plus some extra for buttering the baking tray)
- 1/2 Cup of Olive oil (Plus some extra)
- 1 tbsp. Vinegar (Red wine)
- 1+1/2 glasses Lukewarm Water
- Baking tray 30X40cm aprx.
- Rolling pin
- Silicon brush
In a large bowl mix the flour the water, add some salt, the egg yolk, the olive oil and the vinegar. Mix and combine the ingredients and knead the dough until it’s soft, smooth, elastic, and doesn’t stick to the ball. You might have to add a bit more water or flour to achieve this, but do it little at a time.
Let your dough rest for an hour and then dust your working surface, divide the dough into two equal parts and roll out each one of them in a very thin sheet. Butter the surface of every sheet, sprinkle some flour on top and fold into a roll. Butter and dust the exposed surface of each roll and fold them again to form two dough “snails”.
Let these “snails” rest ideally for a night (in case you are in a hurry an hour will also do) and then dust them and roll them out in two thick sheets that have to fit the size and shape of your baking tray. Let them rest until you prepare the filling which only provides that you will whisk the rest of the eggs, crush the feta cheese, add some pepper and mix them all together.
Grease your baking tray and place the first Filo pastry at the bottom. Spread the filling on top of the Filo and then cover the filing with the second Filo sheet. Wrinkles on the Filo pastry make the pie more crunchy, so don’t worry about them. Cut the pie into square or diamond pieces (servings) and sprinkle with some olive oil.
Preheat your oven at 180C degrees, place the baking tray at the lowest rack and bake the Cheese pie for 30 minutes only by the bottom element and for 30 more minutes by top and bottom element together. And that’s it!
- The flour is very important so make sure you choose one made from soft wheat, appropriate for pastry doughs.
- Kneading will make your Filo pastry soft and smooth so knead as much as possible. My mother (leading actress of the video) usually kneads for 20min.
- You can replace water with carbonated water to make your Filo pastry even crispier.
- The best way to handle the Filo pastry is to prepare the “snails” from the previous night and roll out the final two sheets the next morning. But that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to wait that long. Note that during this video we eliminated waiting times in every phase of the recipe, and still our Tiropita turned out divine as you will see for yourself.