Friday, March 26, 2021


When I think of pies, I think of layers of thin filo pastry, abundant filling, and a crispy topping. Filo pies are delightfully easy to make, which is why they are one of the go-to meals of the busy home cooks, and possibly one of the first recipes many learn to prepare. No wonder, they are always a hit, especially when served piping hot, while the layers are still so very brittle from the hot oven.
Rich, golden, crispy, and wonderfully hearty, this beauty is full of sautéed mushrooms, walnuts, as well as abundance of freshly grated vegan cheese. It comes together rather quickly, which is what makes it perfect for a busy weekday meal, or even as a picnic item, depending on the layering style.
And speaking of the layering, that is where the magic of filo pastry really shines through. Ruffling the pastry sheets gives the pie a unique, billowy texture, and the filling and cheese a chance to find their way to all the newly created pockets.
On the topic of cheese, make sure you taste both the filling and the cheese before the final seasoning, to make sure they fit your preference, as some of the cheeses can be quite salty.
As all flaky pies, it is best served piping hot, preferably with a glass of cold yoghurt or even a dash of hot sauce.

For the pie filling
500 grams filo pastry, 16 sheets
400 grams white button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
100 grams ground walnuts
20 grams tomato paste
250 grams vegan cheese, shredded
60 millilitres vegetable oil
For the oil dressing
200 millilitres water
100 millilitres vegetable oil
½ teaspoon granulated sugar

Take a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and let it heat up. Once ready, add in the minced onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent. Add in the chopped mushrooms, and cook until all of the liquid evaporates, stirring often. It should take around 10 minutes of slow cooking. Add in the spices, ground walnuts, and the tomato paste, and mix until incorporated. Let it cook for a minute; taste and adjust the seasoning, remove from the heat, and reserve.
For the dressing, add the water, sugar, and the oil into a saucepan, and place it over high heat. Let it come to a rolling boil, and remove from the heat.
To assemble the pie, start by brushing the bottom and sides of a rectangular baking pan (20x30 cm or similar) with the oil and water dressing. This will prevent the pie from sticking to the pan. Count the filo sheets and divide them into four parts. Place a quarter of the filo sheets in a cross manner onto the baking pan, covering the bottom completely, and letting the top half of the sheets hang over the sides of the pan. They will be used to cover the top of the pie.
Mix the dressing well, as the oil tends to settle on the bottom, and generously drizzle it all over the filo sheets, or brush it on using a pastry brush. Spread a quarter of the mushroom ragù, and top it with a quarter of the shredded vegan cheese.
Take another quarter of the filo sheets and either tear them up with your hands or chop them up roughly with a sharp knife, and add the pieces on top of the cheese. Try to ruffle them as much as possible as you place them onto the cheese, to give the pie more texture. One again, mix the dressing and generously drizzle it all over the filo pieces. Place another quarter of the mushroom filling, followed by a quarter of the cheese.
Repeat this two more times, until all of the pastry and filling is used up. The final layer should be the cheese. Very gently fold over the pastry that was hanging from the sides of the pan, to completely cover the filling, and then generously brush it with the dressing. Bake the pie immediately, in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 25-30 minutes, or until baked through and crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool down slightly, then slice into eight pieces, and serve immediately. Yields 8 servings.