A couple of weeks ago, my School House gallery menu was inspired by recipes I’ve picked up in Lebanon including this beautifully light and flavoursome filo pie. It takes just a few minutes to put together and it freezes well so, if you can’t eat it all in one sitting, don’t worry about it. This is the kind of dish I like to make for our Sunday suppers served alongside lemony roast potatoes and several other mezze-style sides.
400g feta cheese
100g flaked almonds
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 tsp dried wild oregano
Freshly ground mixed pepper
4 sheets filo pastry
Extra-virgin olive oil
Nigella seeds to garnish
Date syrup or mulberry molasses, to garnish (optional)
Pomegranate arils, to garnish (optional)
How I make it
Heat an oven to 180C.
Add a splash of water to a large lidded frying pan. Bring to the boil, add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt. Remove from the pan and drain it through a sieve. Set aside and allow to cool slightly before finely chopping it.
Meanwhile, crumble the feta into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients, including the orange zest (but not the juice) and the cooled spinach. Add a couple of tablespoons of the orange juice, not too much as you want the filling to be quite dry and gently combine everything together – you want the orange zest evenly spread throughout the pie. Season to taste remembering that feta is naturally salty so you shouldn’t need to add more salt to the filling.
Take a large non-stick pie dish and arrange the filo sheets over it allowing each sheet to overhang the dish. Tumble in the spinach and cheese mixture, sprinkle a little sumac over the top (if using). Gently fold over the overhanging filo sheets to cover the pie. Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish with nigella seeds and sumac (if using). Place into the oven and allow it to bake for 15 mins, then turn the dish around 180 degrees and bake for a further five minutes.
Remove from the oven and, if you fancy it, garnish it with a drizzle of date syrup and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately with all the dishes you love. The pie can also be eaten at room temperature and will keep in the fridge for a couple of days (take it out an hour before you want to eat it and put it in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up the pastry).