Here’s an appetizer from Joyce M Stubbs Home Book of Greek Cookery (1963). It’s Spinach Pasties and sounds quite delightful. This was my first time cooking with filo pastry and I can’t say I was very confident. I was pleased with how quickly it defrosted though, almost suspiciously fast. What is filo pastry anyway? It’s so thin; it’s unnatural. I didn’t trust it an inch. I’m afraid I was rather hungry when I made these and the entire process was rushed. This shows in the results. I know very little about Greek cuisine, not much more beyond moussaka and the existence of feta and I have certainly not done it justice with this.
Here’s the recipes (the first recipe references the second, see):
The first mistake I made was using tinned chopped spinach, for reasons of cost. It’s quite hard to get rid of the metallic taste. I didn’t manage. This tasted of tin. The second mistake was to omit the bechamel. This was sheer laziness. The third mistake involved the filo pastry – I didn’t get the widths right/ consistent, and the length of the pastry strips was too long, resulting in parcels of thick pastry that cooked nicely on the first couple of layers, but the inside layers were barely done and very, well, pastry-y. Chewy. What I’d imagined was something delicious like the pastries I had in Croatia last summer – soft, flaky pastry with a gooey middle. What I got were hard, almost inedible masses with some tinny and poorly seasoned spinach inside. The feta was barely noticible, the spring onions unwelcome lumps, and the pastry horrid. Most the blame can be laid at my feet – should have realised there was too much pastry involved, and that the filling was going to be bland. I ended up tearing them apart and eating the middle, joylessly. Once again, my conclusion is that with tweaking this could work, but that this actual recipe is mediocre.