The most delicious and unique pie, with an amazingly creamy filling, wrapped in crispy golden brown kataifi dough! Prepare it for a dinner party and amaze your guests with it’s extraordinary taste! Savory pies are part of every Greek household and are usually made with phyllo dough. This is what makes this pie special, as we used kataifi dough to prepare it, for it’s unique taste and texture. Kataifi dough is a actually shredded phyllo dough and is most commonly used, soaked into syrup, to prepare Greek desserts, like kataifi or ekmek kataifi, which I am sure you have tasted before!
A few tips when working with kataifi dough. It is very important to defrost overnight the dough from the freezer (deep-freeze). To do that, the key is to leave it defrost in the freeze and not at room temperature, in order to prevent it from getting soaked with water. If the kataifi dough gets soaked with water, it will be more difficult to work with and will be less crispy, when baked. When it comes to buttering, don’t be thrifty! Drizzle with enough butter to help the kataifi dough bake and get a golden brown colour; plus extra flavour! This kind of shredded phyllo dough dries out very quickly, so it’s best to keep exposure to air at a minimum. Uncover the plastic wrap, when you are ready to use it and when done with preparing the pie, put it straight into the oven. Work the dough gently with your hands on a large surface or over the sink, so that you don’t end up with a kitchen filled with scattered shredded dough!
If you are in a mood to improvise, then experiment with different mixtures for the filling, adding any ingredients you like. Just keep in mind to sauté the raw vegetables and meat and definitely add the bechamel sauce for creamier results.
- 350g kataifi dough (12 ounces). Variation: Make using 350g of Phyllo dough! See photos below.
- 250-300g grated cheese, which melt easily (10 ounces)
- 200g bacon, chopped (7 ounces)
- 100g mushrooms, roughly chopped (3-4 ounces)
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
For the bechamel
- 6 tbsps butter
- 6 tbsps flour
- 800g milk (3 1/3 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 150g melted butter, for greasing and buttering (5-6 ounces)
- 2 tbsps olive oil for frying
- Heat a saucepan to medium heat. Add 2 tbsps of olive oil and the chopped onions and sauté the onions for 3 minutes, until softened and slightly colored. Add the garlic, the mushrooms and the bacon, until most of the juices have evaporated and set aside.
- For the bechamel sauce, melt 6 tbsps of butter into a deep pan, over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to make a paste. Add warmed milk to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously, in order to prevent the sauce from getting lumpy. It is very important to add the milk a little bit at a time, in order for the flour to ‘brake’ and to absorb the milk, forming a smooth cream. If the sauce needs to thicken, boil over low heat, while whisking, for a few more minutes. The bechamel sauce for this recipe, should not be very thick, as it will thicken up when adding the cheese.
- Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the cheese. Crack in 2 eggs, 1 tsp of paprika and season to taste. Add the bacon and mushroom mix and blend well with a wooden spoon.
- Remove the kataifi dough from the plastic sleeve. Work the kataifi dough with your hands, tearing apart the shreds and gently spreading the strands out a bit if they clump together, in order to get fluffy.
- Melt the butter. Using a pastry brush, butter the bottom and sides of a baking tray (approx. 20*30). Begin by layering evenly the 1/3 of the kataifi dough, sprinkle with some butter, and on top layer 1/3 more of the dough and sprinkle with some melted butter. Tip in the filling, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Layer evenly the remaining kataifi dough on top and try not leave any holes. Gently push the surface with your hands. Brush well the top with the remaining butter. The butter helps the kataifi dough to bake and become golden and crispy.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180, for about 75 minutes, until nicely colored. Best serve after half an hour, using a sharp knife.
If you cannot find the Kantaifi dough, why not try making it using standard Phyllo pastry? Its equally yummy and even more crunchy!