Recipe: Strifti tiropita
By: Dina Tzouras, Highett
I make a pretty good spanakopita and hortopita but I still have a long way to mastering the "verga" (thin long rolling pin used to open filo pastry)...however watching this master at work stretching paper thin filo pastry by hand was out of this world.
Koubara Dina is an amazing cook and I'm looking forward to being taught a lot more recipes and cooking skills by her. Next week I'll be baking our Easter tsourekia using her recipe. Better than any brioche you will ever try!
You need to be very patient with my description of the recipe as the little techniques are very hard to describe. Hence my unedited videos! In the mean time the big lesson for this recipe is PATIENCE!! You need to allow the dough to rest. The longer you do the easier the filo will stretch.
This recipe yields about 9 cheese pies so work out your measurements accordingly...
5 kilos bread flour
2 tbs salt
tepid water (approx 6 litres)
1 kilo feta cheese crumbed
clean cotton table cloth for helping with stretching of dough and rolling of pastry
Step 1. Place flour in large mixing bowl and slowly incorporate water. DON'T add water in one go. The water should be added a cup at a time. Add water mix then add another cup and continue this until you get a very springy dough.
Step 2. In the bowl separate dough in about 5 pieces. Add a little water to help mix in any flour or dry bits at the bottom of the bowl with the remaining dough.
Steps 1 & 2 should take about 20 minutes
Step 3. Place dough on table and knead for further 5 minutes.
Step 4. Place dough in a plastic bag and leave in fridge overnight to rest
Step 5. Next day remove from fridge and allow dough to come to room temperature
Step 6. Separate dough in 9 balls and cover. Take one ball of dough and knead by taking a little pinch of dough with your left hand and fold it back into the dough whilst at the same time taking a pinch with your right hand and slightly turning dough anti clockwise. The reason for folding in small pinches of dough and not kneading it the way we are all used to is this way it creates a smoother dough which helps with the even stretching of it later.
Step 7. When dough is COMPLETELY smooth underneath (no creases!!) flip over to smooth side. Baste liberally with vegetable oil and rub all over top and side with the palm of your hand.
Step 8. Place on a tray which has been covered with a clean tea towel and cover the dough oil side up with the other 1/2 of tea towel. Allow to rest for about 20 or so minutes.
Step 9. Place thick cotton table cloth on the table you will be stretching your dough
Step 10. Carefully flip rested dough onto palm of your hand and like a pizza slightly pull from outer edges whilst holding it with both hands in the air turning it anticlock wise. This should only take a few seconds. Be very careful not to tear it!
Step 11. Place the slightly stretch dough in the middle of the table which has been covered with tablecloth.
Step 12. Gently pull the dough from the thick out edges and stretch carefully using fingers under the dough and thumb above.
Step 13. Go around the table carefully stretching the dough. If you slightly tear it leaving a hole continue stretching but avoid this area.
Step 14. When you have stretched as much as the dough allows you then cut off the the thick part of the outer rim of stretched dough. (only 1/2 cm of perimeter) This will give you an even thin filo
Step 15. Very gently baste vegetable oil on the edges of the dough (1 cm) and then drizzle vegetable oil on the entire filo
Step 16. Sprinkle a little feta on top half of dough ensuring that there is feta on the edges as well.
Step 17. With your fingers carefully lift about 1cm of the dough from the side of the filo you will start rolling from.
Step 18. The table cloth will now be used as the rolling tool. Lift the table cloth from the cheese sprinkled side of the pastry and carefully roll. It should roll itself as you are slowly lifting the table cloth.
Step 19. On a baking tray place a good quality baking paper and baste with vegetable oil.
Step 20. To coil the cheese stuffed pastry carefully lift the roll and start coiling from the middle of the tray.
Step 21. Repeat the process to make a second roll and continue to coil.
Step 22. Baste with vegetable oil and bake in a 200° Celsius oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: If you are making these in advance before baking place tray and pita in a plastic bag. Seal properly and freeze. Once frozen you can remove from the tray leaving the baking paper and frozen pie in the freezer until ready to cook!!
This recipe may take a while from start to finish but it is SO worth your while!!