Filo pastry sheets are amazing. You can get them to do almost anything for you – baked to become fanciful and crispy containers for appetisers; piled in layers on a tray to pack in a whole load of stew and stuffing; baked as parcels wrapped up with delightful filling and flavours. With a bit of imagination and the help of your fingers, the aesthetics of baked pies can also be enhanced through the gathering of folds and pleats of the top most layers of filo pastry sheets.
One can’t stop being creative with these sheets. Here’s what I did with mine.
- Potato: 800g, peeled & sliced
- Butter: 2 tbsp + 4 tbsp (melted)
- Leek: 2 stalks (about 400g without leaves), halved & sliced
- English parsley: 1 stalk, chopped finely
- Basil leaves: 10, chopped finely
- Filo pastry: 12 sheets
- Gruyere cheese: 150g, sliced
- Salt: to taste + 1/3 tsp
- Ground blackpepper: to taste
- Double (or heavy) cream: 250ml
- Egg yolk: 2, large
- Preheat oven at 190 degrees Celsius.
- Cook potato slices in lightly salted boiling water for 5 min. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp butter in wok. Add leek and fry on low heat till softened.
- Remove leek from heat. Stir in half of parsley and basil. Mix evenly.
- Line round baking tin with 6 filo sheets, brushing each layer with melted butter. Let the extras hang over the outside of the tin.
- Layer potatoes, leeks, cheese and remaining herbs in tin, sprinkling salt and pepper between layers to taste.
- Flip overhanging pastry over filling. Cover with another 2 sheets of filo pastry with the edges tucked neatly into the tin.
- Brush lightly with melted butter. Cover whole pie loosely with aluminium foil.
- Bake 35 min. Meanwhile, beat cream, yolks and 1/3 tsp salt together to make the cream mixture.
- Once 35 min is over, remove pie from oven and discard foil.
- Poke a hole in the middle of the pie with a spoon. Gradually pour in cream mixture.
- Arrange remaining 4 filo sheets on top, teasing them into swirls and folds. Brush lightly with butter.
- Set oven temperature to 180 degree Celsius. Bake 30 min till crispy and golden brown.
- Cut into 8 slices to serve.
- Cooking the potatoes in boiling water first would allow them to cook more easily and quickly in the oven.
- Serve the pie hot, right out of the oven. The baked filo sheets will not remain crispy for a long time after that!
- This recipe was kindly adapted from ‘The Complete Book of Party Food & Appetizers’ by Bridget Jones.
- The original recipe uses mixed herbs and White Cheshire/Lancashire cheese while I used just basil herbs and Gruyere cheese.
1 big pie (about 8 medium slices)