The first time I played with phyllo, I was young . . . and fearless. I was unfazed by the prospect of working with the paper thin sheets, of tearing sheets or wasting them. I became famous in my small world for being brave enough to make baklava and spankopita.
Now I'm older, maybe wiser, and I don't play with phyllo much any more. I tend to keep a box of frozen sheets in the freezer. One of puff pastry, too. And every once in a while, I look at the expiration dates and tell myself to use them.
So when I needed a little dessert to take to a party, I make phyllo cups and filled them with a chocolate mousse.
The trouble was deciding what to do with the half a package that remained!
A quick survey of what was available between fridge and pantry didn't leave me with too many choices.
But I did land on this meat pie. I think the only thing that really makes it Greek is the addition of sweet spices and feta. I bet it would be great with lamb.
If I make this a next time, I would use butter instead of cooking spray. The pastry still browned and had a nice crispiness to it, but it lacked richness. If you're going to the trouble of playing with phyllo, use the butter!
Meat Pie with Phyllo Dough
from Bonnie Traynor
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1pound lean ground beef
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon allspice
salt and pepper
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
olive oil-flavored cooking spray
10 sheets phyllo dough
Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.
In a medium skillet, heat the garlic with half of the olive oil. Add the ground meat and onion.When the meat is almost cooked through, add the tomato paste. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice to your taste. When cooked completely through, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
In a large lasagna size glass pan, coat the bottom of the pan with cooking spray.
Carefully place one sheet of the phyllo dough in the pan. Be sure and keep the rest of the phyllo covered with a damp towel as you're working. Spray that sheet and add another layer the same way until you have 5 sheets coated with the spray and layered on top of each other. Once you have 5 sheets, spread the meat mixture evenly over the phyllo. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly on top of the meat mixture.
Then layer the remaining phyllo sheets, one by one, on top of the meat, spraying each sheet.
Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until it is lightly golden on the top.