When I was young, we used to spend our summer holidays in Greece. The whole family, aunties, uncles, cousins… a 3-day journey, driving from our home in small-town Germany all the way to the beaches in Northern Greece. We camped in the wild (yes, that was ok in the 80’s), near the beach, swimming, sailing, and enjoying the sun.
For me, every moment of these weeks were magical. I vividly remember those few times we’d go out for dinner in the little town nearby. I was a picky eater as a kid, but I have many memories of “firsts” – trying new food at these basic Greek restaurants and deciding to like them there and then. One of these moments was cucumber. Another was filo pastry filled with lamb.
The crunch of the pastry, together with the abundant spices of the filling, it’s like an explosion in your mouth! Served with a simple cucumber salad and fresh Greek yoghurt on the side, these triangles can be a full dinner, or a popular snack at a party. The shape is optional of course. Squares could be fun too! Or little cigars? Show me your creations in the comments below.
Greek lamb pastries
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tsp ginger, ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp coriander, ground
- 1.5 tsp cumin, ground
- 500 g lamb mince
- 20 g pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 100 g butter, melted
- Finely chop the onion and separately chop the garlic.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onion on medium heat until golden brown. Then add the garlic and fry for another minute until aromatic.
- Add the ginger, cinnamon, coriander and cumin and fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove mix from the pan.
- Heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil in the frying pan and fry the lamb mince until brown and slightly crispy. Add the onion/spice mix as well as the chopped mint leaves to the meat and stir until mixed well. Remove from heat.
- In a separate, clean, non-stick frying pan, toast the pine nuts without oil until golden and aromatic. Add to the meat and mix well.
Assemble the triangles
- Heat the oven to 180°C (fan forced).
- Cut 12 sheets of filo pastry in half (lengthwise) to make strips of about 10cm x 40cm.
- Melt the butter, then generously brush two of the filo strips with the butter.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of the filling to the bottom corner of one strip, then fold the corner diagonally so that the meat is covered. Repeat the diagonal folds upwards until the meat is wrapped entirely by the first strip, then transfer the triangle to the second strip and repeat the wrapping in the same way, starting from the bottom all the way to the top.
- Place triangles on a lined baking tray, brush with a little milk or egg yolk, sprinkle a few sesame seeds on each parcel.
- Bake for approx 25min at 180°C or until golden brown.
- Serve with Greek yoghurt and a fresh cucumber salad on the side.Bon Appetit!