How to Make Filo Pastry Parcels
Filo pastry is notoriously difficult to make – but it is possible with a little determination! This thin, unleavened pastry is popularly used to create filo pastry parcels, often filled with spinach and ricotta (or similar). Whether you want to create your own filo or not, this recipe takes you through a filo pastry method and a filo parcel method, so that you can always make something truly scrumptious!
Filo Pastry Ingredients:
- 400g of Plain Flour
- 330ml of 50°C Heated Water
- 30ml of Olive Oil
- 6g of Fine Salt
- Cornflour (for dusting)
Filo Parcel Ingredients:
- Filo Pastry Sheets (pre-made or shop-bought)
- 175g of Ricotta Cheese
- 160g of Baby Spinach
- 3 Finely Chopped Spring Onions
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- Black Pepper (for seasoning)
Filo Pastry Equipment:
- Electric Mixer (with dough hook)
- Baking Sheet
- 60cm Round Wooden Board
- Thin Wooden Pole/Dowelling
Filo Parcel Equipment:
- Baking Tray
- Baking Paper
- Large Non- Stick Frying Pan
- 2 x Bowls
- Wooden Spoon
- Thin Knife
- Damp Tea Towel or Clingfilm
- Pastry Brush
PROCESS 1: Making Filo Pastry
- Add the flour, heated water and salt to your electric mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and mix the ingredients at a low speed.
- As soon as they begin to combine, slowly add the olive oil. As soon as the dough forms, stop the mixer.
- Using a spatula, scrape your dough hook and the dough sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl, and then add it to the main lump of dough. Turn the mixer on again, but this time on a medium speed. Keep the mixer on for between 3 and 4 minutes.
- The dough should now be quite soft and a little sticky. Take it out of the mixing bowl and place it onto your work surface in a ball shape. Weigh out 60g pieces of dough and shape each one into a ball.
- Dust a baking sheet with cornflour and space out your balls of dough onto it, roughly a few centimetres apart. Cover the baking sheet with clingfilm and put it aside to rest for 2 hours. If possible, keep it at a temperature of between 14°C and 16°C.
- Dust a round wooden board with cornflour. Place one of your filo dough balls in the centre of the board, and then roll it out into a 14cm – 16cm disc using a thin wooden pole or dowel. Make sure you keep your hands at either end of the pole when stretching out the dough, instead of pressing down in the middle. Keep dusting with cornflour as you roll it out.
- When your filo disc reaches a thickness of 0.5mm, place it on a baking sheet and cover it with clingfilm so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 to make another sheet of filo pastry. Once you’ve rolled out your next filo sheet, dust the first sheet you made with cornflour, and then place the next sheet on top of it and cover again with clingfilm. Again, repeat this method of rolling, dusting and covering until you’ve used up all your pastry dough. Make sure to cover the last sheet well.
PROCESS 2: Making Spinach & Ricotta Filo Pastry Parcels
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (170°C fan or gas mark 5) and line your baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Fry your finely chopped spring onions until they’re soft, and then take them off the heat and move them to a bowl. Put your baby spinach in the frying pan, cook until wilted, and then remove from the heat.
- Place a sieve over a separate bowl and transfer the spinach into it. Press the spinach with the face of a wooden spoon to sieve out any excess water.
- Add the spinach and ricotta to the spring onion bowl, mix all the ingredients together, and then season the mixture with pepper (to taste).
- If you skipped the filo pastry process, take your shop-bought filo sheets and cut each sheet in half with a thin, sharp knife. If using pre-made sheets, it may not be necessary to cut them down – it depends on the size of them. Make sure you brush off any excess cornflour.
- Lay three pastry halves on top of each other. Make sure you keep the rest of your filo pastry sheets covered with clingfilm or a damp tea towel so they don’t dry out. Brush the top pastry layer with a little olive oil and put a quarter of your spinach and ricotta mixture into the centre. If it seems like there’s a little too much mixture there to seal the parcel efficiently, reduce the amount you put in.
- Fold up the edges of the filo pastry so that you create a sort of money purse shape, and then twist the top to seal the parcel. Brush the parcel all over with oil and put it on a baking tray.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you’ve used up all your spinach and ricotta mixture. Place the baking tray in the oven for between 20 and 25 minutes, until they’re golden and crisp.