I love parchment paper, any sort of brown, crispy paper that just begs to be tied up with string. I’m aware that I could be coming off a little weird right now, getting all excited about paper, but it’s one of those simple things in life that makes opening a present, or even opening a bag of fish and chips that tiny bit more satisfying. My good friend Joe used to rub the spare bits of paper our housemates would find for him to draw on, between his fingers and smile, he understands see? But it’s only recently that I’ve started to become aware, properly aware of the textures of things, whether it be food, the paper of a well made book, a good wooden table, or even the delicacy of a linen cloth. I think it’s good to be aware of this kind of thing, especially when it has been handmade by someone who cares about their craft. This is why I will never trade in my books for a kindle or leave it up to a bread machine to knead the dough for me.
Filo pastry is probably one of the most delicate things I’ve ever placed my fingertips onto. It can more than easily rip with just a little tug and is as light as air, but it is so great when you fancy a light-ish kind of pie, as it isn’t as heavy on the stomach as shortcrust. This recipe is another of out of The Kitchen Diaries 2, the book that has kept me company over the summer.
There’s a lot of cheese in this pie so you could replace one block of feta with either more spinach or beans if you want it to be a little healthier. Always line the tin you bake it on too, my lack of parchment meant I was presented with pie with a stuck on bottom.
400g Feta cheese
500g Spinach & 250g Broad beans
+ 270g filo pastry sheets
+ melted butter
+1 tsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Put a saucepan on to boil and cook the broad beans in the water for about ten minutes. Drain, and if you have the patience and time, squeeze them out of their jackets to reveal their bright green colour.
Wash the spinach and then plunge them into a large deep pan over a low heat without any further liquid, when wilted, drain in a colander or sieve then cool under cold water. Squeeze the spinach in your hands until almost dry. Place in a bowl then add the broad beans, with a generous seasoning of black pepper and a little salt. Crumble the feta into the bowl and fold it in.
Place a sheet of filo onto a lined baking sheet and brush with the melted butter, continue to layer until half the sheets have been used. Then pile on the spinach and feta mixture and spread evenly. Then layer on the remaining sheets of filo and brush with the rest of the melted butter. Fold the edges over so the pie is secure and nicely tucked in. Add the teaspoon of sesame seeds over the top, make a small slit in the top and bake in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden.