Commonly referred to as potato ‘pita’ these filo pies are simplicity personified – and that is what makes them so good! Traditionally a homemade flaky dough is made to encase the simple potato filling and filo pastry is a great alternative, especially for the convenience. This recipe uses vegetable oil, but feel free to use olive oil in its place, if you wish.
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 16 sheets filo pastry
- sesame seeds (optional), to sprinkle
- natural yoghurt and freshly ground black pepper, to serve
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small brown onion, finely diced
- 600 g potatoes (such as Desiree), finely diced
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Brush a large baking tray with a little of the oil.
To make the filling, heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the onion over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and then use a mandolin to cut them into medium-thick slices (about 7 mm-thick). Use a sharp knife to then dice the potatoes finely. Add to the onion, season with the salt and pepper and set aside.
Stack filo sheets flat on a bench top. Cover with a dry clean tea towel and then a slightly damp tea towel to help prevent them from drying out. Take one sheet of filo, lay it with a long side closest to you and brush with a little of the oil. Cover with another sheet of filo brush with oil again. Spread about ⅓ cup of the potato filling along the long edge closest to you, about 3 cm from the edge and about 3 cm in from each end. Fold in the pastry ends and then roll up to form a log and to enclose the filling. Shape the filo log into a coil and place on the oven tray. Brush with a little more oil and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if desired. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets and potato filling to make 8 coils in total.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is cooked through. Serve warm topped with yoghurt and pepper.
• The key to working with filo pastry is to work quickly so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle and tricky to work with. Covering the pastry sheet with a dry and then a slightly damp tea towel will always help keep them moist and pliable.
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Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Bosnian baking.