Crisp light pastry layers with a rich and creamy filling...
The beauty of filo pastry is that it is very forgiving. You can have the odd tear or kink and it doesn't matter. In fact the more rustic looking - the better! This is similar to a Spanakopita - but with the addition of the mushrooms. It can be eaten hot or cold, so perfect as a portable picnic dish or with a salad for dinner.
Approximately 350g mushrooms (I used a mix of Swiss Brown and Portabello) chopped
1 large onion finely chopped or sliced
1 garlic clove finely chopped
Good few handfuls of fresh spinach
Zest of half a lemon
16 sheets of filo pastry
Chopped fresh parsley
Grated nutmeg (optional extra)
Salt and pepper
Add a generous glug of olive oil to a frying pan and sautee your onions and garlic until softened and translucent. Add in your chopped mushrooms and a knob of butter and allow to cook over a low to medium heat until the mushrooms have cooked down and taken on a little colour. You want your mushroom mix to be quite dry so if you have a lot of liquid in the pan, just carry on cooking until it has evaporated. Once you're happy, add in your spinach leaves and allow them to wilt down gently. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. Place your mushroom mix into a bowl and add your lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper (if you need it), and nutmeg (if using). Allow to cool completely.
Preheat your oven to 180c.
Now we're onto the filling and rolling of the filo pastry. Gather together your filo, mushroom mix and almond feta. You'll also need either some melted butter or warmed olive oil to brush between the pastry layers. Take your pastry out of the packet and open out the sheets so they are totally flat. Cover over with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
Take one sheet and lay it onto a flat surface. Brush with a little butter or oil and take another sheet of filo and lay on top of the first. Repeat the process until you have four layers. Now, working from one end to the other (see pics below) spoon some of the mushroom mixture along the length of one long edge of your pastry layers. Don't be tempted to overfill. Now add teaspoon sized amounts of your almond feta along the top of the mushroom mixture. Working confidently begin to roll up from the end closest to you. Try not to make it too tight as this will help reduce the risk of the pastry splitting. Once you've rolled the whole thing up, starting from one end and keeping it flat on your surface, slowly begin to wrap it around upon itself into a spiral shape. Again, try not to make it too tight. Secure the end with a couple of cocktail sticks if you need to, and place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper using a spatula. Repeat the process to make more. The recipe makes four swirls.
Once you have all your swirls done, brush with a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like. Then it's into your oven until the pastry is golden and crispy. Remember you're only reheating the filling, as its already cooked. To test if they are hot enough, simply insert a metal skewer into one of the swirls. Hold it there for a few seconds and bring it up to your lips. If it's hot, they are done.
I served ours with bubble and squeak and a mint gravy. Bon appetite!!