Kessaria pies

Kessaria pies

By
From
The Islands of Greece
Makes
15, enough for 6–8 as a meze or starter
Photographer
Steven Joyce

These are indulgent little pies, filled with béchamel and crisp pancetta, that I discovered on Kos. Avoid cooking with filo that has been caked in cornflour in the package, as it can give a mealy, gritty feel in the mouth when cooked.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
125g butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
300ml hot milk
freshly ground black pepper
20g grated pecorino
150g pancetta, cubed
5 long sheets filo pastry

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Melt 25 g of the butter in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually add the hot milk, but don’t go too fast or the sauce will become lumpy. Once you have a smooth béchamel sauce, add a little black pepper and the pecorino. Cook for a couple of minutes longer, stirring often, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Sauté the pancetta in a dry pan over a medium heat until crisp. Stir it into the béchamel. Set aside and allow to cool: the cooler the béchamel, the easier it is to work with.
  4. Melt the remaining butter and cool slightly. Use a little to liberally grease a large baking tray.
  5. Keep any filo you are not working with covered with a damp tea towel, as it can dry out and become brittle very quickly. Lay the first sheet of pastry on a work surface. The varying size and shape of ready-made filo pastry may mean you will have to trim it, or you can make smaller or larger pastry tubes. Make a rectangle roughly 20 × 15 cm and brush it with butter. Working across one of the shorter ends, spread 1 tablespoonful of the béchamel in a line, keeping it about 3 cm from the edges. Fold the short edge over the béchamel by about 3 cm. Turn the long sides in by about 1 cm, over the filled section of pastry and all the way down the sides. Leave plenty of room between the fold and the beginning of the filling as the filling will expand in the oven and without the extra space the tube of pastry may burst. Brush with butter all the along the newly exposed pastry edges. Gently turn the filled end of the pastry over once to begin to create a roll. Brush the newly exposed pastry with butter. Repeat for four turns in total, brushing with butter each time. Trim off any excess pastry.
  6. Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet and brush with butter, ensuring all the exposed pastry has butter on it. Repeat until all the filling has been used up.
  7. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp all over. Serve warm.
Tags:
The Islands of Greece
Rebecca
Seal
Greek
Greece
Europe
European
Mediterranean
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