Greek Eggplant Pie (Melitzanopita)


 

This is a very filling and delicious Greek pie - which vegetarians will also love! The recipe calls for Greek anthotiro cheese, but if this is unavailable where you live, then ricotta can also be used.

Ingredients

For Filling
7 globe eggplants
5 long sweet red peppers
3 tomatoes with skin, seeds and liquid removed, finely chopped
1 chilli pepper finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
300g anthotiro (or ricotta)
1 bunch fresh basil roughly chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
4 tbsp olive oil (for frying)
100 ml olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the dough
300g all purpose flour
40 ml olive oil
1 tablespoon ouzo
Salt
Lukewarm water – enough to make a pliable dough


Preparation

Dough
Place all the dough ingredients in a bowl and knead well for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 balls of equal size.

Cover them with cling film and let them rest on a lightly floured surface for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Filling
Remove the stalks from the eggplants and pierce lightly with a fork. Place them along with the red peppers on a grill and put in a preheated oven at 250 degrees Celsius with a tray underneath to catch the liquids that will drip from them. Put the peppers at the front.

Check the peppers after approx. 30 minutes and if the skin has blackened patches, then remove them and set aside to cool.

Leave the eggplants in for a total of approx. 75 minutes. If the skin cracks when you tap them lightly with your fingers, then they are ready. Set them aside on a tray to cool.

Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skin and seeds, roughly chop them and put in a colander to drain.

Spoon out the flesh of the eggplants, put it on a tray and remove any especially hard seeds.

Roughly chop the eggplant flesh, add salt and the lemon juice and put in a colander to drain for approx. 30 minutes.

Put the 4 tbsp olive oil in a pan and heat the onions and garlic in it, stirring until they are golden brown.

In a mixing bowl put the red peppers, eggplants, chilli, basil, crumbled anthotiro (or ricotta), tomatoes along with the onions, garlic and the oil you have fried them in. Mix lightly with your hands.

Add salt and freshly ground pepper.

Dough
When the 1 hour has passed take 3 of the balls and, using a wooden rolling pin, open them into flat circles 15 cm in diameter.

Lightly brush the first ‘filo’ with olive oil and place the second one on top of it.

Lightly brush this one with olive oil and then place the third filo on top.

Sprinkle flour on top.

With a rolling pin open out the dough with the 3 filos until you have a large circle enough to fill a round oven dish 35cm in diameter and cover the edge.


Brush the oven dish with olive oil and place the circle of dough in it, covering the edge.

Take another ball of dough and with a little flour and the use of the rolling pin, open it out into a circle which is the same size as the oven dish, but not including the edge.

Place this in the oven dish on top of the first layer.

Now spread the filling evenly on top of these layers.

Take another ball of dough and again open it out to the size of the oven dish.

Place it on top of the filling and brush with olive oil.

Take the final ball of dough and open it out to the size of the oven dish plus enough to cover the edge.

Place it on top of the others and join the extra at the edge with the edge from the bottom layer, using olive oil so that the edge of the whole pie is nicely sealed.

Brush the top of the pie with olive oil.

Score – without going too deep – the pie into portions (see photo at bottom).

Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approx. 45 – 60 minutes, until it has turned a nice golden brown.



Eat and Enjoy!
 

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