The 28th of October is the Greek national holiday, known as the Ohi Day. It commemorates the rejection of the Mussolini ultimatum by the Greek PM Metaxas, which resulted in Greece joining WWII. The day is widely celebrated all around Greece, and though there are no traditional dishes served on this day, it’s usually a time for the family to come together.
So this week, we’ve prepared something sweet for you, a beloved Greek traditional dessert called portokalopita. Portokalopita, literally meaning orange – pie, is a fascinating dessert. It’s made both with cake batter and filo pastry, and (!) an orange-sugar syrup drizzled on top (using the same technique as in the classic baklava). The result, as you can imagine is spectacular. It’s moist and aromatic, and extremely satisfying.
The cake batter is made with oil and while the classic recipe uses sunflower oil, we prefer using olive oil, as it adds depth and flavour.
For the cake
225g olive oil (plus more for the cake dish)
225g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp baking powder
3 oranges (zest)
400g filo pastry
3 tbsp semolina or flour (for the cake dish)
For the syrup
250ml orange juice
1 orange, sliced (optional)
fresh bee pollen (to serve)
Thaw your filo (if from frozen). Shred your filo into large pieces and scatter on a large baking dish. Let it dry for a couple of hours. You can do this step the night before.
As your filo is drying, prepare the syrup. In a medium-sized pot, add the water, sugar, orange juice and sliced orange and stir everything together. Place your pot over medium-high heat and warm up the suryp, until the sugar has dissolved, 2-3min. Boil for another couple of minutes, remove from the heat and let cool.
Preheat your oven at 180C
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the olive oil, baking powder, yoghurt, orange zest. Stir well until everything is combined.
Grease a large cake tin (30cm) with olive oil and dust some semolina flour all around. Lay the dried filo. Pour over your cake batter and using your hands gently toss everything together. You can do this in your bowl and then transfer to the cake tin if you prefer.
Bake at 180 for 30minutes or until your cake is cooked through. Remove from the oven and using a ladle, immediately pour over the cold syrup, one ladle at a time. It may look a lot, but worry not, your portokalopita will magically slowly absorb it all.
Decorate with the orange slices and bee pollen.
You can serve it immidiatley or ideally wait a few hours. It keeps well in the fridge.