There was a huge table inside every kitchen in Greece.
My height as a kid allowed me to see that this wooden large table had lion feet.Pretty exciting, for a kid.. I was under that table most of my "in home" day.
There were more than one woman rolling phyllo on top of that table (daughter, mother, grandmother, aunts, neighbors and beyond..) and together they were making all sorts of delicacies. It was the busiest table inside the house.
Home made phyllo has nothing to do with the premade phyllo we are usually buying. Especially for people living outside Greece the fact that you can't find a good premade phyllo, it's just a tragedy .
The procedure is not that hard, it sounds something different and it is, it's taking some time, some effort but when you finish you will have the most delicious, elastic, crunchy and moist phyllo pastry.
The traditional rolling pin for phyllo dough is thin and long. Τhis pin helps rolling a very thin and very large phyllo sheet. Here in Toronto I dont have the traditional one, so I'm using a standard rolling pin.
Making phyllo is fun, find a friend to make it together and enjoy! ;)
Ingredients (a round medium-sized pan)
For the filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 chopped leeks (white and tender green parts)
4 tablespoons chopped dill
400 g fresh or frozen spinach *
300 g crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 or 3 eggs
Salt - Pepper
For the phyllo pastry
Approx. 4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
1 cup cold fizzy water, seltzer or water
2 tablespoons white vinegar (substitute lemon juice or unflavored alcohol)
1/4 cup extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil and more flour as needed
How to make
Place a large skillet over medium to high heat and when the pan is hot add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions, leeks, cook for 1-2 minutes and add the spinach. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat add the fresh dill, stir and set aside to cool completely.
Add the feta cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, salt, pepper. Mix well.
Keep the filling in the fridge until its time to use it.
Grease a round pan with olive oil.
Place the sifted flour into a bowl and add the soda or water, vinegar, salt, olive oil and mix using a spoon ( you can use a stand mixer to do all the job for you). When the dough begins to gather around the spoon like a ball then transfer to a floured surface and knead by folding the dough several times (keep your hands floured at all times) until smooth and soft.
If you think that the dough is tight, add some water (add drops of water and knead).
Cover the dough with a clean towel and let it rest in room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes.
Cut the dough in to 27 small pieces a little smaller than the size of a tennis ball. Knead every piece for a while and cover them. Let them rest for 5 min.
Take one piece of dough and using a rolling pin roll the dough into a 5 inch (12-13 cm) round disc. Brush it on top with olive oil and set aside. Roll another piece, same size, brush with oil and put it on top of the first one. Roll the third and last one, don’t brush it with oil, just roll and put it on top of the other two.
This 3 layer disc will be your one sheet of phyllo dough.
Roll the 3 layer disc together using a rolling pin, slowly with patience until it gets thin like one phyllo. Rotate as needed and keep the working surface floured. The phyllo should have the size of your pan. Place the phyllo inside your greased pan and brush it with some olive oil.
No need to worry about holes in your homemade phyllo, they are slightly visible at the end.
Continue again roll 3 pieces of dough, brush olive oil between them and then roll them together into one phyllo sheet.
Put 5 phyllo sheets on the bottom of the pan, add the filling of the pie and cover with the other 4 sheets, brushing extra virgin olive oil between them.
Fold or cut the extra dough around the sides, cut your pie into pieces before baking and bake on the last rack of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool before cutting.