Friday, June 4, 2010

Going Greek

Adapted a recipe on the excellent food and travel blog -
Its an Irish twist on a Greek favourite.
For the original recipe visit the link above, its direct.

They are wonderful served warm as a snack with something like an expresso coffee and Tahini or Yoghurt sauce and perfect for a quick breakfast the next morning.

The greeks use caster sugar in this pastry recipe that I used honey for, and altered the original to potato, buttermilk and Soda dough.


For the pastry:
150 gm plain flour
100 gm cold potato peeled or mash
1 tsp of honey
80 gm of chilled, chopped good quality butter
teaspoon baking powder/soda
Teaspoon salt

buttermilk to finish
Mix all ingredients except milk in a bowl until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Then add enough milk to form a soft dough and mix thoroughly with a fork.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until it’s quite smooth Shape into a 35 x 20 cm rectangle. Trim the edges.

Retain buttermilk for egg wash mix.
If you have only regular milk, pour a little into a glass and add a squeez of lemon or lime juice, or a drop of vinegar if there no lemon or lime available.

Excess off-cut dough can be saved in fridge to make dumplings, or be used on a cover for assorted pies

For the filling:
300 gm of freshly chopped leaves.
Whatever you have handy really. I used mostly spinach-say 200 gm, with some beet leaf and Mustard green leaf thinnings
50 gm chopped shallots
Quickly blanch leaves and shallots, squeeze off any excess water. (makes approx 200 grams)
200 gm of crumbled feta
75 gm of crushed walnuts and almond mix
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg to mix with buttermilk for wash

Place all the ingredients, excluding the nuts in a food processor and whizz until you have a nice, creamy paste.

Spread the spinach mixture on the freshly rolled dough and spread the nuts evenly on top.

Roll the dough up until it resembles a log, or swiss roll, making sure to seal it with a little egg wash on the final tuck.

If the pastry board is small enough, just put it into the fridge like that, the less it is handled, the better

Leave the roll into a refrigerator and allow it chill for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

Gently transfer the roll onto a cutting board, or just leave on pastry board - using a lightly floured serrated knife cut into 2cm thick slices.

Arrange the slices on a baking tray, leaving a little room between them to allow for spreading during cooking.

They will need more space than shown in this picture.

Brush a little egg and buttermilk on the top and sides and bake for 15 mins in the middle of the oven until golden.
I serve with a modified Al Fez Tahini sauce, but greek yoghurt is another option, which some would prefer at breakfast.

2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup well-stirred Al Fez, or ay sesame seed paste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh corriander
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Im sure the recipe is adaptable to allow for collard greens and other fillings. If you want a less salty filling, perhaps try mild goats cheese in place of the feta, the only limitations are imagination.
I would, however, avoid using overpowering flavours as the idea is to get the delicacy of the dough and greens with the strength of the cheese.

Enjoy, as they say in Greece - Καλή όρεξη! (Kalí óreksi!)

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