Pies and tarts last week on the Great British bake off and I was inspired to make a filo pastry pie.
Full disclosure: I did not make my own filo pastry, for two reasons 1) My kitchen is not big enough to swing a cat and my longest work surface is less than a meter long. 2) Paul and Mary are not here to judge me!
I have made a few filo pies before but decided to make a competition worthy one. Even without making my own pastry it required some effort, not a quick week day meal!
It is adapted from a Tom Kerridge recipe. It is fish, surrounded by a mix of basmati and wild rice with garlic, lemon, dill and mozzarella, all tightly encased in spinach leaves then wrapped in crispy filo pastry.
I made two small pies instead of a big bake off style pie as there is only the two of us and I do not waste food.
Filo fish pie
Makes 2 individual sized.
75g basmati and wild rice (dry)
1 clove of garlic
Vegetable stock cube
Zest of one lemon
Small bunch of dill
125g of mozzarella
60g spinach leaves (bigger are better)
2 fillets of white fish, I used frozen hake fillets that had been defrosted.
2-4 sheet of filo pastry.
Melted butter or egg to coat the pastry.
First off this requires cooling and resting time so make sure you have enough time before starting!
Spritz a frying pan with a little oil and lightly fry the garlic, add the rice and fry for 30 seconds or so. Add 200ml of veg stock and turn down to lowest heat, allow to cook for 45 minutes until the rice is tender and all the stock absorbed. Note my low heat is quite hot still so I had to top up with a little more stock a couple of times, keep you eye on it.
Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and allow to cool completely. Once the rice is completely cool stir through the zest of a lemon, the mozzarella and finely chop in a good tablespoon of dill and season with a little salt and pepper.
Blanch the spinach for 30 seconds or so in hot water, drain and transfer to cold water immediately to stop the cooking, drain again and lay out the spinach on kitchen towel of a clean tea towel to drain of most of the water.
Lay out a sheet of clingfilm. Lay out a layer of spinach leaves a little wider and longer than the size of your fish.
Add spoonfuls of the cooled rice on top of the spinach, flatten then add the fish on top. Add another few spoonfuls of the rice mix to cover the fish and then finish with another layer of the spinach leaves. Now carefully wrap the whole thing up tightly in clingfilm and pop into the fridge for at least one hour, or up to two.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN and lightly grease a baking sheet.
Lay out a sheet of filo on a work surface and fold in half (length ways). Alternatively if your pasty sheet is small, or your fish parcel is big simple lay two sheets on top of each other.
Gently transfer you fish parcel from the clingfilm to the centre of your filo pastry. Fold the short ends in and then wrap the rest of the filo around the fish. Glue the seam with a little beaten egg or melted butter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Glaze the top of the pastry with melted butter or beaten egg.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
This was a little effort and a little fiddly in places but it does not involve too long in the kitchen, a lot of time is waiting and it is honestly not has tricky as I though it would be.
Its worth noting that I did not use all the rice mix, I packed a lot in but there was a little left over, it probably depends on the size of your fish.
The effort was worth it though, the flavours and textures in this pie are lovely and a little bit different. It was very filling too, only a salad was needed alongside and I was stuffed!