Recipe by Witch Doctor
My interpreter's mother (who was a commercial baker in Skopje, Macedonia) used a dowel which looked to be about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter and about 3 feet long to roll out her pastry. She used this to make the pastry for her Hortopita, which is a Greek/Macedonian baking-powder-leavened bread stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. It is simply fantastic the way she made it - rolling out the dough with her dowel in a long thin strip. Then she would place the spinach/Feta cheese stuffing along the middle of the strip and fold the dough over the stuffing. Then she would roll the stuffed dough into a spiral like a cinnamon roll, bake it and serve. It is no wonder that I am not weighing 500 pounds! Make it several weeks ahead, and freeze, then thaw and reheat it in a moderate oven. Serve it as an hors d'oeuvre or with the meal.
Top Review by fluffernutter
This pastry is the easiest rolling I've ever worked with. It rolls paper thin, never gets tough, peels off a marble slab in one piece and doesn't harden in the fridge. I made a tart rather than a coiled rope because I'm lazy. We used chopped fennel, limp lettuce, cooked collard greens and chard as a substitute for the spinach, and added 1/2 cup sour cream to the filling because we were low on feta. Worked great, and we really enjoyed.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1⁄2 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus additional
- 2 leeks, white parts only, well washed, split, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄2 lbs spinach, well washed, dried, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup mint, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
- 2 1⁄2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- salt, to taste
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 12-by-18-inch baking sheets.
- In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add 1 cup cold water and 2/3 cup olive oil, and process until smooth. Remove the dough from the food processor, knead it into a ball with your hands, and wrap loosely in plastic film. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until ready to use.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, and scallions, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, and sauté, stirring until slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl, and add the parsley, mint (if using), dill, feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a very thin rectangle. Brush each piece with the remaining oil, and spread 3/4 to 1 cup of filling along the length and center of each rectangle. Starting at one long side of each rectangle, roll the dough around itself to enclose the filling.
- Place the rolled dough seam-side down on the baking sheet, bending each piece to form a spiral. Brush with olive oil, and prick the surface here and there with a fork to allow steam to vent. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake until golden, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool slightly, cut, and serve.