Easter is almost here and I really have to share this feta and ricotta cheese filo wraps with you. It is a must make, must eat and a definite and guaranteed repeat! It's the best thing in the world if you ask me. These will definitely be on my Easter table this coming weekend.
What are these filo wraps?
They are made with Phyllo (filo) pastry sheets that are simply made up of flour, water and oil. You can nowadays find gluten-free Filo here in the UK but wherever you are in the world it is worth checking as I am sure you will be able to find some.
Okay, the pastry in this recipe isn't a homemade one since this takes proper time, so much patience and not to mention the amount of skill to produce something like that resembling a thin sheet of paper. It's not easy!
It also requires a fair amount of space to progressively roll and stretch to what it'll have to end up in a single thin and very large sheet with constant flouring between every layer to prevent tearing and also drying out. Amazing!
I can't do it!! Skill maybe I will manage to find some (my grandma used to make it so hopefully a bit of that genes lie within ?) but patience....? No, thanks, that's what I won't find unless I could buy some somewhere... any tips???
I'm really happy, thankful and grateful though that the filo pastry nowadays can easily be found and it is available to buy in almost any supermarket, both, fresh and frozen.
For this filo rolls which are Börek style I always use spinach or dill and feta mixed with ricotta cheese filling.
This recipe goes a long way ...
The original recipe that my grandma used to make only requires feta cheese with either dill or spinach but I do add ricotta to simply diminish the saltiness as I don’t like it very salty. There is a way of desalting the feta cheese and that is to put the chunks/blocks into cold water for at least a couple of hours if no ricotta is available.
The outcome on these filo wraps guys..... is, mama mia!! ... pure and plain deliciousness.
It is pretty filling so this would be perfect for a lunch and served with a nice leafy salad which could be even a fresh spinach salad. More spinach! Oh yes, the more the merrier. You do remember what effects spinach has always had on Popeye, right?
The beauty about this filo wraps is that it could be made vegan, by replacing the meat with mushrooms and the vegan filo pastry, vegetarian or can be made with meat, so it is pretty versatile.
I personally love having/serving it with a nice cold glass of kefir. It is how my grandma used to give it to us and I love keeping it that way because I still think it's the best.
In Turkey, where this recipe originates from, people like to have it along with a glass of Turkish tea and it is mainly served for breakfast. I can have it any time of the day without a moan. Oh yes.
Let's get started as I can't wait any longer, so here it comes the recipe!
Feta, ricotta cheese
- wodden spoon
- 250 g feta cheese made into crumbs
- 200 g ricotta cheese
- 350 g fresh spinach washed and roughly chopped
- 12 sheets Filo pastry
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp Sesame seeds I used black and white
- 4-5 sprigs fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg to egg wash
- 1 small onion (optional)
If you want them moist:
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tbsp yogurt full fat
- 50 ml milk
For crispy fillo:
- 3-4 tbs olive oil or butter
- Take the pastry sheets out of the fridge for at least 15 min before handling to avoid breaking although sheets are a lot easier to handle and they warm quicker than puff or crust pastry.
- Cook the washed, drained and chopped spinach. You may wish to use onion, if so, chop and sweat that first with 1 tbsp of olive oil for a few minutes and then add the spinach. Cook until all water will evaporate. Spinach has to be well drained so it doesn't need cooking for too long. 2-3 min will be sufficient. Once finished, set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven on at 190 C, prepare the oven tray, line with baking paper and set aside.
- Grab a bowl, put in the feta cheese which you shouldmake into small crumbles with the help of a fork. Once this is done, add the ricotta cheese and mix well. Add salt only if your feta is not salty or you would really want them fairly salty. I do recommend however to taste the cheese before so that you know what level of saltines that is. Then decide if you like to add any more. Add the egg only if you wish. I sometimes like it without. Add a pinch or two of freshly ground pepper. I normally split them into two at this point because I can't give up on the dill version. I always must have some with dill and some with spinach separately.
- Add the cooked spinach and the dill separately if you split the cheese or you could add both to the whole cheese mix. So, let's get rolling! Take out one pastry sheet, fold into two to get a rectangle shape.
- Optionally, brush with a little oil or melted butter(for extra crispness) not necessary though, add a spoon full or two of the cheese composition (on the shorter side of the rectangle) but don't go all the way to the edges so that the pastry sheet margins could be folded in slightly, and then roll or make little parcels just like I did. Roll or pack lengthwise. There is no right or wrong but the only thing I will say at this point is to not overload the sheets with too much cheese as there should be a right balance between the amount of pastry and the one of cheese.
- Place the rolls/parcels on a greaseproof, egg wash each, sprinkle the mixed sesame seeds. When all finished place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190 C