‘Kihi’ filo feta pie is an amazing, extraordinary pie made in my hometown, Kozani. The taste is so unique but the most amazing part is its artistic part, the way you make it! My grandma, Kleopatra, used to make such a thin handmade filo dough that you could even see through it! That’s the success in this recipe, that’s what will make the pie really crispy when it’s baked. I was wondering how she does it, how os to possible? ‘Doesn’t it break grandma? Doesn’t it get holes?’ I asked. ‘Yes, it sure does!’ she replied. ‘Or at least it did in the beginning. As the time passes, you get more experience..you need to give some time to yourself..’ So, you should dare and make it and give time to yourself, that’s what I (still) do!
for the filo dough
- 200ml. lukewarm water
- 650gr. flour
- 1tbsp. olive oil
- 1tbsp. vinegar
- 1/2tsp. salt
- 1/2tsp. sugar
- butter for spreading in the filo pieces you’ll make
for the filling
- 450gr. feta cheese broken in small pieces with a fork
- olive oil for sprinkling into the filo pieces
You will need some extra butter to spread in top of the pie before you bake it.
for the filo
- Put in a big bowl the water, oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and slightly mix with your hand.
- Add little by little the flour and knead with your hands until you get a soft dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. You might need some extra flour for that. IT all depends on the quality of your flour (strong/medium/soft).
- When the dough is ready, let it rest for an hour in war environment.
- After that, you make small balls out of it, size of a small mandarin.
- Every 3 small mandarin balls will give you in the end a filo. How is this going to happen? Well, you squeeze with your hand every ball so that you get a small round thick filo with a diameter of 15cm. You spread some butter on this and put on top another squeezed ball. You put some butter also on the 2nd small thick filo and then you place a 3rd one on top of the other two. You place this triplet in a big flat plate and then straight to the fridge! You follow the same procedure until all ‘mandarins’ are open and combined in triplets.
- This procedure will take some time, so every ready triplet you make you should keep it in the fridge until you are completely done. This way it will be easier to open them to a big thin filo. Make sure you put some baking paper between the ready triplets in the fridges, otherwise they will get stuck to each other.
- Put some olive oil in a round 30cm baking pan and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
- When you are ready with the triplets and all of them are in the fridge, you should start making the final big thin filo. Take one triplet at a time starting with the most cold ones. Sprinkle some flour on your clean table and using a thin wooden rolling pin start spreading the triplet from the inner to the outer part. You will need some flour at this point but try to use as less as possible.
- When the filo is ‘opened’ sprinkle some olive oil on its surface and add the feta cheese pieces here and there on the surface of the filo. You shouldn’t cover the whole surface with cheese because then you will not be able to roll it. Start rolling it carefully until you make a long piece of rolled filo with feta cheese filling.
- Place the roll in the center of your pan, turning it actually around itself. The purpose is to place the next rolls from the inner to the outer pat of you pan, placing them around the previous roll added in the pan.
- You keep making all your filos and then roll them with oil and cheese until their over and your pan is full.
- Butter the surface of your pie, sprinkle some water on top and bake it for an hour until it gets nicely brown and crispy.
- Eat it hot from the oven (cold is quite as good!) and..
- Same way you can make spinach or leek pie!
- Instead of a big pie you can make with each roll small pies for one person. You just have to turn the roll right around itself !
- Since this is a time consuming recipe, you can make a big portion of big or smaller pies, bake them all and keep some in the freezer. You just have to unfreeze it well, warm it up a little bit in the oven and there you go again with Kihi Filo pie!