Even a novice cook will find this Greek Cheese and Herb Pie easy to make. It is quickly prepared; have it on the table in one hour. Whilst it’s cooking there will be time to make an accompanying salad and have a relaxing glass of wine.
Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees C (350 F).
Open your packet of filo pastry, spread it out on your workbench on a sheet of waxed paper or a sheet of cling wrap. Immediately cover the pastry with a sheet of waxed paper, cling wrap or a barely damp tea towel.
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Remove one sheet of filo, place on your kitchen bench and brush with olive oil, or spray with olive oil if you prefer.
Roughly scrunch the filo and place it in the base of a 23cm x 33 cm/13”x 9” baking pan.
Repeat this with 5 more sheets until the base of the pan is covered. Use another sheet if necessary to fill in any gaps.
Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Whilst the pastry is baking, add the crumbled feta, grated parmesan, lightly beaten eggs, milk, mint, nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper to a large bowl and mix well.
Remove the pan from the oven and spoon the cheese mixture over the scrunched filo.
Sprinkle on the sesame seeds (if using) and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the top becomes golden and the pastry crisp and crunchy.
Cut into serving pieces whilst still warm.
Serve with a tossed green salad, or, if you have vine-ripened tomatoes, slice them, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, some dried oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The pie is also delicious when served cold.
*The filo pastry will dry out very quickly if exposed to the air. Cover it immediately you open it. Damp tea towels are frequently recommended but the towel must be barely damp otherwise the pastry will become gummy. You can also use cling wrap or waxed paper. I first cover the dough with cling wrap but for additional protection and being ultra-cautious I also use a barely damp tea towel on top of that; it helps keep the cling wrap in place.
*If you have previously used filo pastry for a recipe that requires more precise layering and some of the sheets have torn badly, don’t throw them away, cover them with cling wrap and refrigerate. They are ideal for a pie such as this.
*You will use roughly 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of olive oil brushing the sheets of filo pastry. The remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil is for drizzling across the top of the pie before baking.
*The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml size, which is 4 teaspoons, about 1 teaspoon more than most other countries.
*I have brushed the sheets of filo with olive oil but for convenience and speedy preparation, you could also use an olive oil spray.
*For best results and superior flavour I suggest you use Italian parmesan and grate it yourself. I choose Grana Padano, less expensive than Parmigiano Reggiano but with fantastic flavour.
*You can use other herbs such as dill, parsley or chives or finely sliced spring onions/scallions.
*As the cheeses are quite salty, you will not need to add any additional salt.