Filo or phyllo (Φύλλο in Greek), literally means leaf, is a very thin sheet of dough used to make pies and pastries. Pies (gr. πίτες) made from filo are deeply rooted in Greek tradition and they can be found in variable shapes and with different fillings, all over the country.
The dough for filo is made with plain (all-purpose) flour, water, a small amount of olive oil, and traditionally with also few drops of white wine vinegar. The mix is kneaded to form a coherent and pliable dough that is left to rest before rolled out into very thin sheets with the aid of a long and thin rolling pin.
Several layers of filo are then placed into a pan enclosing a sweet or savoury filling. The assembled pie is baked until filo becomes golden brown in colour and crispy in texture.
This recipe makes six filo sheets to assemble a pie into a 28 cm-diameter baking pan
350g all-purpose wheat flour
180g water (ca. 50-53% hydration)
10g extra virgin olive oil
a shot of white wine (or else) vinegar
a good pinch of salt
corn starch for rolling out filo sheets
- Mix all ingredients (except corn starch) into a bowl and knead by hand or machine for a few minutes until a coherent and pliable dough is formed. It should be soft but not sticky. Adjust with flour/water (if needed) to get the right consistency. Cut the dough into six equal pieces, and fold each one to form a ball. Cover the balls with a towel or a plastic film and let them relax for at least 30 min before proceeding with filo dough preparation.
(At this point you can use the dough balls directly to prepare filo sheets or cover the whole dough before dividing it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge or freezer for a couple of days or many weeks respectively)
- To roll out filo sheets, cut a piece of dough and coat it with a good amount of corn starch from both sides to prevent sticking while rolling it out.
- Start pressing the dough with your palm to form a disk and then start rolling it out using a thin and long rolling pin.
- Gradually the dough spreads out. If it feels sticky sprinkle some flour. Keep rolling it out until the sheet becomes very thin and you are able to see clearly through it.
(It is not a big deal if it brakes at some points since during pie assembly several filo layers will be placed on top of each other)