- Hard wheat flour from village makes the best sheet.
- You will not make the perfect sheet on your first try. Keep trying. You will soon find out your own secrets.
- The right thin rolling-pin can be found at open-air markets, and at Athinas Street, in those little stores selling hangers and mortars.
- We can spread many sheets and preserve them in the freezer, wrapping each one separately in plastic wrap. A few minutes defrosting before usage is enough.
- The sheet “loves” oil. Spray some on it before you put in the oven. Corn-oil makes the end result much crunchier.
- Never expect a tastier result with redy-made pastry sheet.
- We never cover our pie after taking it out of the oven – we want to preserve the pastry crispy.
- Spinach-pies with frozen spinach do not have the taste of the fresh vegetable. During the summer, we can replace frozen spinach with fresh blite.
- You can spread any remaining dough in little round pieces, add some oil, oregano and ground cheese, thus creating lovely tiny home-made pizzas.
Common mistakes – and how to workaround them
Question:I can’t get the sheet to spread.
Answer:Your dough is too thick. Add some oil and mould it again.
Question:The dough sticks on my rolling pin.
Answer:Pour some flour on the surface and let it slide
Question:My sheet is not crispy enough.
Answer:You haven’t added enough oil in the dough or the sheet surface before you baked it.
Question:My dough is too watery
Tips from those who know
Maria Karamaggioli, from Thebes:
“The classic Thebes’ pies are the cheese-pie and the spinach -pie. However, we also use chicken and yellow pumpkins. You have to cook a pie when you have a guest in the house, or when you’re invited somewhere – you have to offer something. My secret is that I only use flour, salt and a little oil for the dough – the oil makes the sheet a little looser. You don’t need to overcook you pie, and the fire mustn’t be too hot, or it will become dry like bread crust”.
Vicky Vallatou, from Kefalonia:
“The pies used to be a festive meal in Kefalonia. Especially meat pies, made during the 15th of August with billy-goat meat, which does not smell bad in the summer. My secret for a crispy pastry sheet is to use 2/3 of hard flour along with 1/3 of soft. Also, add a little cinnamon powder on the bottom of the pan, on top of the oil, before spreading the sheet. Finally, the secret of a Kefalonia herb-pie is the variety of spice”.