Planet Food Greece Recipe: Cheese Pie

Spanakopita

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Meat & Cheese Filling:

• 1 kg Diced lamb (from rib or leg cuts)

• Pinch of cumin seeds

• Pinch of oregano

• Pinch of salt and pepper

• 1 kg Oily cheese (such as Tiromalia or mozzarella)

• 500g Mizithra (or ricotta) cheese

Pastry Dough:

• 1 Egg

• ¼ Cup of extra virgin olive oil

• 500g Flour

• ½ Teaspoon of salt

• Dash of raki (Cretan firewater) or similar

• Water

• Beaten egg and sesame seeds to decorate

• 12″ round pie tin

Method:

1. Cook the diced lamb in an oiled frying pan over a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Towards the end of cooking add a pinch of cumin seeds, oregano and salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Make the pastry dough by adding the egg to the flour, and gradually the olive oil and kneading. Add the salt, raki and water as needed to make the dough the right consistency. (Adding raki helps to make the pastry crunchier once cooked).

3. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place with a damp tea towel over the bowl in which it has been made.

4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. You will need one circle of dough to line the tin, and another to make the lid of the pie.

5. Grease the pie tin with olive oil and line the tin with pastry, ensuring that the dough reaches around an inch over the edge of the tin.

6. Add around half the cheese that has been broken into crumbs or small pieces and then the cooked lamb and then the remainder of the cheese.

7. Add your pastry lid and pinch the dough together with the remaining lip from your pastry lining.

8. Brush the dough with beaten egg and sprinkle over sesame seeds. Prick the surface all over with a fork.

9. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 to 45 minutes.

Allow to cool and serve warm or cold.