Homemade filo pastry made into delicious savoury pies (pita) is something that I love to make and am still working on mastering, the delicate and light paper thin sheets. I remember watching my mother, who was a master at this art, pulling at the pastry from each end over a table covered with a tablecloth until the pastry was silky and transparent. Many have said that women from Northern Greece make the best pitas…I am not going to argue with that.
My filo recipe is basic and easy to make and work with. There are many variations depending on which part of Greece you come from and each household may have their own version. Some recipes add yogurt, others eggs but always olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.
For many the idea of making your own filo pastry is frightening…but have a go as it can be very satisfying. For those of you who have electric kitchen mixers and would like to use it, you can use you dough hook, that will also work.
Here is my recipe…
500 grams bakers flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup warm water
Sift the flour and place into a large mixing bowl with the salt, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil, vinegar and warm water. Mix the flour into the liquid mixture slowly, you can add more water if you need to.
Knead the mixture into a soft and elastic dough. Make a ball with the dough, leave in the bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to rest for at least an hour.
When ready to use divide the dough into small balls and roll out into sheets using a long thin rolling pin. Keep rolling all directions until you have made a large round very fine sheet. When using these sheets brush with a little melted butter and olive oil between sheets.
To make pita filo which separates during baking, stack three or four balls of dough on each other brushed with a little melted butter together with olive oil. Roll this stack into a sheet.
Ready now for your favourite fillings.