Last month I was cordially invited to join in with the Sunvil Supper Club. Sunvil are a travel agents who have started this fun way to get to know different holiday destinations, through traditional foods from that country. Sunvil sent me the following recipe, and a gift card for a local supermarket to buy all the ingredients – thank you! They did not compensate me in any other way for writing this post, and the opinions contained therein are my own.
Contained therein… Heh heh heh…
In November we visited Samos, through the medium of pumpkin pita pie. I’d never heard of pita pie before, so it was great to try something really new (to me, at least). You can find more info about Sunvil and their recipe for the pumpkin pita pie just here.
I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, so here it is as I made it:
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus about another 3 tbsp for brushing
- 3 large onions
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 tin pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried mint
- 2 tbsp uncooked rice
- 400g feta cheese
- salt and pepper
- 540g filo pastry
Take your filo pastry out of the packet to defrost, if it’s frozen, and it’ll be ready when you are.
Take two ten inch oven dishes and grease the bottom and sides with olive oil, ready to make your pita. The original recipe said you could make one fourteen inch pie with these amounts, but I ended up with two slightly smaller ones – and this wasn’t a bad thing!
So, first of all you prepare your filling. Start with the onions, and you can work on the rest while they cook. I used my food processor quite extensively in this recipe, as you’ll see, and I kicked off by using it to grate down the three onions. My eyes, oh my eyes… I drained off almost all the eye-watering oniony water that was generated in this process and then tipped the grated onion into a large frying pan with the 2 tbsp of oil. I left this over a medium heat to cook while I got on with the rest of the recipe.
Next, undergo the laborious process of peeling, seeding and chopping the butternut squash. Keep the chunks fairly rough and then whirl in a food processor until chopped into tiny bits. The original recipe calls for you to puree the squash but this would have involved cooking it, and I figured just firing it up in a food processor would be a bit quicker. I’m pretty sure I was right. Good old food processor.
Put the squash, pumpkin, eggs, mint and rice in a large bowl and mix well. Then crumble in the feta and mix through, then do the same with the onions. Have a wee taste, and season as you like. You are now ready to wrap, wrap and wrap again.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Unfold your filo and separate off the first sheet. Sit it in front of you with the long edge nearest you, then fold in half horizontally. Brush with olive oil – you may or may not become sick of brushing filo with olive oil before the end of this recipe, you have been warned. Drop four tablespoons of the filling onto the pastry, spacing them evenly, then use a spatula to smooth into an even rectangle, leaving an inch of pastry clear at either side and along the bottom. Like so:
Tuck the short edges in, and then roll the pastry up, from the edge nearest you to the top. After the first one, I realised that this would be made a bit easier if I had the pastry on a tea towel, as in the method for making povitica. Once you have your little pastry tube of deliciousness, tuck it along the edge of one of the prepared dishes. Now, make another pastry tube of deliciousness in the same way, then add it to the dish. You want to start at the outside of the dish and work your way in, in a spiral, until you can’t pack any more in, and then proceed to the next dish and fill that in the same way.
Once both pies are complete, brush the tops with a little more olive oil (I probably won’t brush anything with olive oil again for quite some time) and then put in the oven for about 50 minutes, until it smells divine and looks crispy and golden.
Slice the pie into wedges, and serve with a green salad, or you can also serve it cold as part of a picnic, buffet or any other event where you might want a cold pastry item. Everyone who tried this raved about it – the flavour is mostly savoury but with a hint of sweet, and a fresh edge from the mint. The rice cooks and, as it does (I’m slightly guessing here), absorbs the liquid from the vegetables so that the pastry stays crisp. Yum.
Thank you to Sunvil for inviting me to take part, and paying for the ingredients. ‘Preciate it.