Chef Maria Loi has made quite name for herself in New York City and beyond ever since relocating to the United States from her native Greece. The best-selling cookbook author, television personality and restaurateur has succeeded in getting numerous Greek products into mainstream supermarkets, including her eponymous Loi Dips, which are best-selling products at Whole Foods markets throughout the country.
We stopped by Loi Estiatorio for dinner the other night and watched Maria go table to table, greeting guests and making them feel like they were eating in her own home.
When she approached my table she opened her arms to welcome is and exclaimed— I have a new recipe that I’ve just tested and I want to share it with our readers!
After my delicious dinner which included Lavraki flown from Greece and an amazing Marouli (romaine and dill) salad, Maria gave me a sample of her off the menu items that she was testing in her kitchen— Twisted Cheese and greens pies.
As promised, she shared the first recipe with the second one to follow next week— exclusive for the readers of The Pappas Post. This recipe isn’t evenin her best-selling cookbook published by HarperCollins called The Greek Diet.
These recipes come from her youth, growing up in a village outside the seaside Greek town of Nafpaktos.
Strifti Hortopita – Twisted Wild Greens Pie
Ingredients – Dough:
500 grams AP flour
1 cup of water
½ cup olive oil
pinch of salt
Ingredients – Filling:
1000 grams spinach, cleaned, stemmed, chopped
500 grams swiss chard, cleaned, stemmed, chopped
1 bunch of dill, finely chopped
1 leek (white and light green parts only), cleaned, chopped
250 grams feta cheese, crumbled
200 grams strained Greek yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup olive oil
pinch of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
AP flour, as needed for rolling the dough
Olive oil, as needed for brushing the dough and pan
Dill sprigs, as needed for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.
2. To make the dough: sift the flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl; make a well in the center, and pour the oil and water into the well.
3. Knead the ingredients together until they combine into a soft ball of dough; cover with kitchen towel, and allow to rest for approximately 20 minutes. a. NOTE: If the dough is not soft/pliable enough, add a little water to fully combine the ingredients.
4. While the dough is resting, combine the filling ingredients together in another large bowl, mixing to fully combine.
5. To assemble the pies: on a floured surface, divide the dough into 6 portions, and roll one portion out into a rectangular shape.
6. Brush the surface of the rolled out rectangular sheet of dough with olive oil, and fill with 1/6 of filling mixture along the length of the outer edge of one side of the sheet of dough; leave 1-inch of space on the other edge of the dough, and roll one edge over to meet the other to encase the filling, sealing the filled dough into a roll.
7. Hold one end of the roll, and wrap around itself to create spiral shape; repeat for all portions of the dough.
8. Place the ‘twisted’ pies on an oiled baking pan, brush the tops with olive oil, and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
9. Garnish with fresh dill, serve and enjoy.
COOK’S NOTE: To make smaller version for entertaining, divide dough and filling into smaller portions, following the same instructions to create mini-pies – this recipe can make 24 mini-pies!
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