Alexandra’s Filo (Filo Pitas)

If there’s one thing that’s associated with Greek cuisine (but also Turkish and quite a few others for that matter), that is definitely filo. Filo is a thin dough made with no yeast or other leavening agent. It is used for a variety of dishes, like baklava or pies.

It takes quite a bit of skill to roll out filo swiftly, and if you ever find yourselves in a Greek village, you will see older women, using a very thin rolling pin, creating paper-thin layers of filo in a few seconds. We do not have that skill (yet!), but join us as we -slowly- roll out filo.

This recipe was given to me by my godmother, Alexandra, who got it from her friend, also called Alexandra. It is surprisingly easy to make, so if you have never made filo before fear not!

Makes 8 sheets for a 30cm pan

350g all-purpose flour (you can also use half wholegrain and half all-purpose flour)
salt
70ml olive oil
45ml red wine vinegar
120ml (1/2 cup) water

In a large bowl add the flour and season generously with salt. Whisk together the flour and salt. Add your olive oil and vinegar and start mixing everything together using your hands. Add the water and work the dough in the bowl, until all ingredients are combined, and the dough is no longer sticking at the sides of the bowl.

Place the dough in a clean, floured surface. Work the dough for another 5 minutes until smooth. Return it to the bowl, cover in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for one hour.

Separate the dough into eight balls. You can use a scale to ensure each ball is the same size as the others, but really, you don’t have to.

Roll out each dough ball, so that you have a very thin, round sheet of filo, adding a bit more flour if needed. If when you start rolling our your dough it springs back, then it needs to rest a bit more. Leave it outside the fridge for another 10 minutes and try again.

You can roll out the filo by rotating the dough clockwise, and rolling it away from you. Alternatively you can rotate your rolling pin clockwise, moving from the centre of the dough outwards, keeping the dough in front of you.

Place the filo sheets on top of each other with clean kitchen towels in between. By the time you have rolled out the last one, they will have dried up a bit, which is what you want, so that they can absorb the beautiful olive oil that you will brush them with.

Your filo is now ready to use!! Check out our pie recipes for inspiration!

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