Hortopita (Wild “Greens” and Cheese Pie)

This is what I would call a pie – real pastry filled with cheese and vegetables. The pastry is filo pastry and much easier to make than you might imagine! The only thing you need is a rolling pin!

This recipe comes from my friends in Delphi – Paraskevi and Aristoteles – and it kept me going on the road through the mountains in the days afterwards.

For the Filo

600g flour (plain or semolina)
1tsp salt
1tbsp Olive Oil
1tsp Vinegar (this helps make the dough elastic)
approx 1lg cup Tepid Water

Combine all the ingredients together and then add the water. There is no specific amount of water here – really it is just a case of adding as much as it takes to be elastic and so that it doesn’t stick to your hands. Start with half a cup and then keep adding a little until the dough is of a consistency that it all holds together and comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Once it is all combined, leave it to rest for an hour or so amd male the filling…

For the filling
Fresh Spinach or other greens (whatever is in season)
1lg Leek
1lg onion
5 spring onions
Dill (small handful)
Parsley (small handful)
2 eggs
250g Feta cheese
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
200g Bulghur wheat

In Greece they use horta (wild greens) as the filling. If you want to do some hunter gathering then that’s highly recommended and the best season is march and April. Otherwise spinach or fresh greens will do! You’re going to need a good amount as it will all cook down but as with everything it is very much a case of go with your tastes. There is no singular recipe here  – if you want to make it more cheesy then put in extra feta. If you don’t want cheese at all that’s fine as well!

Chop all of the green vegetables into fine pieces, chop the leek and spring onions into thin rounds and dice the onions. Mix all together with the chopped herbs.

Crumble the feta into the vegetables and add the beaten eggs, a good glug of Olive Oil (always essential in Greek cooking!), salt and pepper (be careful with the salt here as Feta is a salty cheese usually). Finally add the bulghur, mix all together with your hands so there is an even consistency throughout

Take a circular or square shaped deep, flat bottomed baking tray. Oil the bottom and sides with olive oil.

After an hour, divide the dough into 4 parts. Now comes the fun part! Using a rolling pin, roll until flat and circular (or square if using a square baking tray). Each time you roll sprinkle with flour – you can’t add too much so no need to worry about it going dry. If you have a thin rolling pin, you can wrap the sheet around the rolling pin and roll it, otherwise just roll until thin. The idea here is to make a very thin sheet, so just keep rolling until you feel it is thin enough.

Place the first sheet of filo on the bottom of the baking tray, overlapping the sides. Drizzle olive oil on top amd then add a second sheet. Then pour all of the filling in and place another filo sheet on top, crumpling it with your hands. Drizzle with olive oil and then add the final sheet. Fold in the sides, drizzle more olive oil on top and bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 200°. It should be crispy on top but not too brown. You can also sprinkle sesame seeds on top for the last 10 minutes if you want to.

Remove from the oven and place a plate over the top of the pie so it can rest for 30 minutes.

Serve with a salad or maybe with Dhakos, a Cretan speciality which is deliciously simple: it uses paximadi – dry barley rusks. I guess you could also use dry bread although it wouldn’t be quite the same. Also I think this would work with a dark, tasty toasted bread, making it more like a bruschetta. The paximadi is softened in water and then drizzled in olive oil, topped with chopped tomatoes and feta cheese, sprinkled with oregano and then given another gulp of olive oil (we also added olives and capers).

Here are some links to youtube videos (they may have a different way of doing things but I have given you here the recipe that I saw!).

Spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie)

Spanakopita alternative

How to roll Filo Pastry

One thought on “Hortopita (Wild “Greens” and Cheese Pie)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s