Living in a Greek-Indian household has many benefits, especially with the food from both those cultures influencing our daily choices. Here is my take on a combination of spanakopita and tiropitakia made with store bought phyllo pastry, and broccoli instead of spinach. Although you need some time, they are really simple to make!
Growing up, samoosas were the only triangular ‘pastries’ I knew of. Then, when I met my now husband, I learned about spanakopita and tiropita – the Greek ‘equivalent’ (in my opinion!) made with phyllo. Now I love feta, and I love pastry, so this was always going to be a winner for me. However, when I decided that the time had come to lose weight and get healthy, I had to be strict so I cut all of this out. Having gotten to a point where I am now open to introducing more into my diet, these little treats are just perfect (as long as I don’t eat more than one… Or two…!). Plus the rest of the family loves them so it never lasts very long to tempt me further!
I’ve adapted the traditional tiropita recipe which calls for 3 different cheeses (only because all I had was feta and cheddar). I then swapped the spinach in spanakopita for broccoli (again, this is because it’s what I had in the fridge) – it’s all about adapting and making things work with what you’ve got 😉
I use store bought phyllo because it makes life a whole lot easier. Just be quick though as you make the pies as the pastry dries out very quickly. Brushing it with melted butter/olive oil helps keep it moist and prevents it from breaking as you work.
Start by frying half an onion in a bit of olive oil and add the broccoli florets with a touch of water. You need to cover the pot/pan to allow the broccoli to soften so that you can mash it for the filling.
Now comes the fun part. Lay the phyllo out on your counter, and have a little bowl with melted butter/olive oil ready. Lightly brush oil/butter over the top layer and then fold that sheet in half. Brush it again, and fold over again (so one sheet gets folded into quarters). You should now have a long rectangular, layered piece of pastry. Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon), scoop out some filling mixture and add a dollop onto one end of the pastry.
Now it’s folding time! Take the bottom right edge (closest to you), and fold it at a diagonal so that the bottom left corner forms a point and you create a triangle. Keep folding over (forwards then backwards!) to form the pie. Don’t forget to brush with oil/butter as you go along.
A quick brush with melted butter on top and these are good to go into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Careful when you take them out the oven once cooked though – the filling will be very hot. So try your best to not take a bite yet!
Recipe for Greek-inspired Phyllo Broccoli and Cheese Pies
Yield: 6 pies
Prep time: 15- 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
What you need
For the filling
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt, pepper, dried origanum to season
1 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 egg, whisked
For the pastry
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup melted butter/olive oil
What you need to do
1. Cook the broccoli. Fry onion in some oil, add broccoli florets and a touch of water, cover and allow to cook for about 10 minute or so. Once softened, remove from heat, mash it up and allow to cool. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
3. Grate cheddar into a bowl and add to broccoli. Crumble the feta into the mixture, add the egg, and stir it all together.
4. Lay out the phyllo sheets, brush with melted butter/oil. Using one sheet per pie (or half for a smaller pie), fold it into quarters to get a long rectangular piece. Place a scoop of filling on one end and fold as per the method described with the pics above, into triangles. Repeat until all the filling/pastry is used up.
5. Place all the pies on a baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter/oil, and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Done!
Serve with a side salad, or as part of a snack platter.
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