Yesterday I received a lovely package from my friends Zoi and Milton who spent several years living in Greece. They eventually moved to Bath when their son reached school age and started to import high quality extra-virgin olive oil from Milton’s decades old family olive grove in Chania, Crete. Like me, they are strong proponents of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and are now focused on establishing a range of carefully selected products from the island including their organic extra-virgin olive oil, flavoured oils, herbs, honey, premium marinated olives and – TO DIE FOR – black olive spread (try it spread on hot toasted sourdough with baked feta). In the year since I’ve known them they’ve worked super hard to build their brand under the most extraordinarily challenging circumstances and were recently awarded a coveted Great Taste Award Gold Star (for their extra-virgin olive oil) from The Guild of Fine Food. I think they are wonderful. The recipe for this beautiful tart is inspired by their greatness and is dedicated to their son, Raphael after whom their business is named.
1 red pepper, membrane and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, membrane and seeds removed, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Raphael’s Cretan extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
Half tsp dried wild oregano
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
A knob of butter
2 red onions, finely sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
120g of baby spinach leaves
2 large free-range eggs
250ml Normandy crème fraîche
200g good quality feta
1 lemon, zested
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 sheets of filo pastry (I love JR Feuilles de Filo, available at Waitrose)
10 Raphael’s Mediterranean herb and garlic olives
Mixed sesame seeds
Fresh dill, roughly chopped to garnish
How I make it
Heat an oven to 190C.
Line a medium tray with baking parchment and arrange the pepper slices over the top. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season and add a sprinkling of dried oregano. Roast for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and the butter. Add the onion and sautée for about 10 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sautée for another couple of minutes. Then add the spinach and allow to wilt before removing the pan from the heat. Set aside
Beat the eggs, add the crème fraîche and crumble in the feta. Add the lemon zest and the nutmeg. Season to your taste and add the cooled onion mixture and the roasted red peppers.
Arrange the filo sheets on a large round pie dish brushing each layer with olive oil making sure that you cover the bottom and leave plenty hanging over the edge of the tray. Tip the filling onto the pastry and spread it to the edges using a fork then arrange the olives and the pine kernels over the top. Gently fold the overhanging layers over the top brushing each layer with olive oil as you go. Brush the top of the pie with olive oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
Bake for around 25 minutes until the pastry turns golden and the top feels firm. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving with a scattering of fresh dill and a simple Greek salad.
For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.