The first time I saw Greek chef Akis Petretzikis making a Greek spiral cheese pie on his YouTube channel I knew I had to try to make it. Finally, this weekend, I did. Under our locked-down circumstances you’re unlikely to find the exact Greek cheeses he uses, other than feta, but as he says himself in the video, you can just use feta and Gruyère. Taking that a step further, I had no Gruyère, nor did my local shops have it, but substituting mainly Edam and a bit of Cheddar made for a delicious filling, so just use what you can get hold of. One thing you will need to find in your supermarket freezer though is a packet of frozen phyllo pastry sheets.
Watch Akis Petretzikis making it and visit his excellent YouTube channel for many more great Greek recipes:
Here’s my adapted version of his original as in the YouTube video above:
1 x 500g packet phyllo pastry
(Petretzikis calls for 750g and says that therefore you need to buy two packets. I bought one 500g packet and it was more than enough – the rest got refrozen)
500g feta cheese, crumbled
300g cheese, grated (any combination of cheeses that grate well, such as Gruyère, Cheddar, Edam, Emmenthaler)
The leaves of 6 or 7 thyme sprigs, picked
Generous grating of nutmeg, about a quarter teaspoon
200ml full cream milk
1 extra large egg
160g butter, melted
Generous grinding of black pepper
Sprinkling of cold water
Sesame seeds (optional)
Defrost the phyllo before starting the recipe. (It defrosts quickly.)
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (though I set my gas oven to 190℃ as it inevitably needs a higher heat for baking).
Pour milk into a bowl and crumble in the feta. Add 1 beaten egg and stir. Grate in the other cheeses and the nutmeg. Add the picked thyme leaves. And 2 Tbs of the melted butter and the pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined but of a chunky texture.
Grease (with butter) the base and sides of a deep round oven dish.
Open out the defrosted phyllo and lay it out on a clean table or large board with the longer side facing you. Have melted butter and a brush to hand, and the bowl of cheese filling.
Using a tablespoon, spoon generous amounts of it in a row of the end of the phyllo closer to you, from left to right, and use the back of the spoon to spread it out edge to edge.
Sprinkle melted butter over the mixture and the rest of the phyllo sheet.
Roll up away from you and coil it into the middle of the greased dish.
Continue until the entire dish is coiled with rolls of filled phyllo.
Drizzle the remaining butter all over the top.
Sprinkle a little cold water over. Don’t get carried away.
I could not find sesame seeds, but if you have some, sprinkle some all over the top.
Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. DM
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