Easter is almost here and I really have to share this with you. It is a must make, must eat and a definite repeat! It's the best thing in the world if you ask me. These will definitely be on my Easter table this coming weekend.
It is made with Phyllo (filo) pastry sheets that are simply made up of flour, water and oil.
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.
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 this rolls guys….. is, mama mia 👌👌🏽👌🏻…pure 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. 💪🏋🏼😊
The beauty about this filo rolls is that it could be vegan, 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 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
- 250 g feta cheese made into crumbs
- 12 Filo pastry sheets
- 350 g fresh spinach washed and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Sesame seeds I used black and white
- 4-5 springs fresh dill
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan salt *
- 1 egg for egg wash
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. If you decide to use onion chop and sweat that first with 1 tbsp of olive oil 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 should be plenty. Once finished, set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven on at 180 C and prepare the oven tray, line with baking paper and set aside.
Grab a bowl where you put in the feta cheese which you should make 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 particularly salty or you would really want the 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 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 the cheese 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 if you split the cheese or you could add both to the whole cheese mix. Okay then, let's get rolling! So, take out one pastry sheet, fold into two to get a rectangle shape.
Optionally, brush with a little oil or melted butter but not necessary, add a spoon full or two of cheese (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 one of cheese.
Place the rolls/parcels on the greaseproof egg wash each, sprinkle the mixed sesame seeds and when all finished place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190 C
If you only have frozen spinach, this should be thawed overnight in the fridge. Before using as no cooking is required but just squeeze out as much water as you possibly can and it's good to go in the cheese mixture. These filo rolls can not only be filled with cheese but also with meat, vegetables such as potatoes, leeks, broccoli and... get a little creative now.😉🙃 Feel free to sweat an onion and cook with the spinach. It adds a little flavour if you wish. I love them crispy and therefore I brush with oil or butter but if you'd like them rather moist, mix 3-4 tbsp of full fat yoghurt and 50 ml of milk with one large egg (hence my asterisk on egg in ingredients list), beat properly and then brush slightly each sheet before putting the cheese on and roll.