This coiled pastry is from Naoussa, a village in the Cyclades region of northeastern Greece. It's filled with a rich-but-light creamy feta cheese centre.
- 4-4½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½-1¾ cups water
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 115 g (¼ lb) butter or more, as needed, melted and clarified
- 900 g (1 lb) Greek feta, crumbled
- 4 large eggs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 50 minutes
1. To make the filo pastry, combine the flour, salt, 1½ cups water and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead at medium speed until a dough mass begins to form. Continue kneading for about 8-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or up to three hours.
2. For the filling, combine the feta and eggs in a mixing bowl.
3. Divide the dough into two equal-sized balls. Let rest, covered, for a few minutes. On a floured surface roll out the first dough ball to a large circle about 50-cm (20 in) in diameter. Place a dessert plate in the center of the circle. Using a sharp paring knife and working at equal distances around the plate, cut strips, like radii, emanating from the rim of the plate to the periphery of the dough circle.
4. Remove the plate and brush the entire surface of the pastry with melted butter. Next, fold in the first strip like a flap over the center of the pastry circle. Brush the exposed surface with butter.
5. Repeat with each of the strips, folding it over the center like a flap and brushing the exposed surface. Pat around the periphery of the pastry once all the strips have been folded and buttered to form a smooth-edged circle. Repeat with the second ball.
6. Cover each circle with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature or for up to 24 hours chilled. If refrigerated, bring it down to room temperature when you are ready to make the pie.
7. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Brush a 38 cm (15 in) round baking pan with butter or olive oil.
8. Roll out the first dough ball on floured surface. Cut into strips 7½ cm (3 in) wide. Brush each strip with melted butter.
9. Spread about 2 tablespoons down the length of each strip and roll to form a cylinder. Place the first filled, rolled cylinder in the center of the oiled pan, twisting it slightly as you place it in the pan.
10. Repeat with remaining filo and filling, placing one end next to the other to continue the spiral, so the whole pan fills up with coiled, twisted strips.
11. Brush the surface with butter and bake for about 45 minutes-1 hour, or until puffed and golden. Remove, cool, and serve.