Cheese Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie

I’ve been intrigued by Greek Spanakopita for a long time. Well, any excuse to eat more cheese! I’ve never loved any of the versions that I’ve tried though. I then saw Georgina Hayden make this Cheese Courgette and Honey Pie on Saturday Kitchen and I thought it looked delicious. I’ve been playing around with variations since and this Cheese Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie is my offering for a delicious Summer meal.

You can assemble this in advance and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it and it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge after baking. This is delicious either served at room temperature or hot. You can reheat it for a few minutes in a low oven and this will re-crisp the pastry. And the whole point of filo is its crispiness.

Great as a light meal in itself or as part of a spread with grilled vegetables, grilled lamb or the chicken from these Greek Chicken Wraps. Why not try it for your next picnic.

 

 

Useful tips & links:

  • Feta is the main cheese in this and it works great against the courgette and iron rich spinach. I add halloumi and the cheddar cheese gives it a sharpness and a nice complexity of flavours. Use any combination of cheese you like yourself but do keep the feta as the star.
  • I like oregano and chives here to complement the flavours. Mint, dill and thyme would also be good.
  • I’ve seen some recipes with chilli added which is always a good idea! I’ve kept it simple though and just added a little cayenne and nutmeg for warmth.
  • Other recipes have tomatoes in the pie itself. I prefer to serve them on the side as the sweetness really cuts through the richness of the cheese. A simple salad with rocket, tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar is delicious or you could serve them with the dressed onions from my Greek Salad recipe.
  • Filo can be fiddly to work with. I use the frozen stuff and I find it easier to handle than the fresh pastry. Keep the pastry covered with a clean damp towel while you work with it so that it doesn’t dry out. Also work quickly once you start to assemble the pie. The filo I used has 7 sheets and weighs approximately 270g. I use 5 sheets from the packet which weigh 200g.
  • To ensure the bottom cooks properly I follow a Nigel Slater tip to cook it on a pre baked baking sheet. Jamie Oliver suggests cooking the pie on the hob for a bit before transferring it to the oven to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom!
  • Have a look at Katia’s Courgette, Feta and Wild Garlic Quiche for similar flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 100g of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 300g of feta cheese
  • 75g of halloumi cheese
  • 75g of cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • A small bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 sheets or 200g of filo pastry
  • Melted butter or oil for brushing
  • Sesame and Nigella seeds

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven with a baking sheet inside to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6 and line a 9″ round pie dish with baking parchment.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wide pan over a medium heat and add the spinach and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently until the spinach is completely wilted and the garlic is cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  • If using butter on your pastry, melt a large knob in the same pan that you cooked the spinach in and set aside.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl and crumble in the feta cheese. Grate the halloumi and cheddar cheese and add them in. Use a fork to mix it together as this break up the feta more.
  • Grate the courgette and add this with the honey, lemon, cayenne pepper and herbs to the cheese and egg mixture. Finely chop the wilted spinach and garlic and add this in. Season with freshly grated nutmeg, about a quarter of a seed. Mix well and taste for seasoning. I like to add some black pepper but think it should be salty enough with the cheese.
  • Start to construct the pie by laying one sheet of filo pastry in the paper in the pie dish. Brush all over with oil or the melted butter. Add another sheet at a 90 degree angle and brush this too. Repeat with the remaining sheets, angling each of them slightly so that the pie dish is completely covered.
  • Spoon the filling into the pastry and spread it out in an even layer. Pull the top layer of pastry over the filling so that it is completely covered. Pull the next layer but slightly scrunch the edges away from the middle. Repeat with each layer of pastry so that each layer is scrunched and more open than the last. This is will more surface area for the filo to crisp up in the oven which is really what you want from filo.
  • Brush the top of the pie with more butter or oil. Sprinkle over some sesame and/or nigella seeds.
  • Place the pie dish onto the preheated baking sheet and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes. Keep an eye on it, if the pastry starts to go dark too quickly cover it lightly with some tinfoil.
  • The pie is cooked when the pastry is golden brown all over. Take it out of the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the dish and slicing it.

 

 

 

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