Like in most Greek / Greek-American households, we grew up eating homemade spanakopita on high (and low?) holidays, extended family dinners, birthdays... basically any occasion where we could lovingly cajole our mother into making her creamy, salty, delicious spinach and feta pie. Spanakopita (and its cousin, tiropita) is ubiquitous on the Greek table. But how many of you have heard of or eaten pastirmadopita? Truthfully, I myself was a latecomer to this savory, subtly intense pastirma pie, first discovering it at a restaurant in Athens as a teenager. For those who don't know, pastirma (or pastourma) is a highly-seasoned (garlic lovers gather round!), air-dried cured beef with a distinct, exceptional flavor. Like so much of Greek food, it's a dish influenced by the greater region with versions of this pie found in Turkish, Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Paired with the creaminess of melted kasseri cheese and the acidity of tomato and pepper, this pie is perfect for the colder winter months! So, grab your Laiik shoes, head to your local Greek/Middle Eastern market for the best ingredients and come make Greek food with us.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes
8 sheets of filo pastry
10-12 slices of pastirma (Note: for this recipe, we purchased "pastirma sujuk" in sausage form, as we couldn't find pastirma, we used around 1 medium sized link, you can either slice or chop it - based on preference)
1 and 1/2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
4 oz of salted butter, melted
10 oz of grated kasseri cheese (or kefalograviera, gruyere or gouda if you can’t find kasseri)
1 tsp sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F
- Brush melted butter on the bottom and sides of a 10-inch baking pan (it can be round, oval or square depending on preference)
- Layer 4 sheets of filo into the baking pan, one by one. Brush butter on the entirety of each sheet, ensuring that the layers “stick” together. Some of the filo should be hanging outside of the pan.
- Add a layer of shredded kasseri cheese.
- Layer the pastirma slices (or chopped pieces) on top of the cheese. Note: in this recipe, I sliced the pastirma, but would recommend chopped pieces).
- Layer the pastirma with the tomatoes and bell pepper slices.
- Top with the rest of the grated cheese and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Fold in the filo that is outside of the pan and brush the tops with butter.
- Layer 3-4 sheets (depending on how much you like filo) on top one by one, brushing butter on each sheet. Essentially repeat step 3.
- Make sure to brush the top layer of filo with butter and then score the pie into serving pieces into your own desired size and number.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the pie (if desired)
- Place pie into the oven and then cook for 30-35 minutes, until the pie is golden brown. Tip: I would check on the pie occasionally to make sure the filo isn’t burning.
- Once the pie is golden brown and cooked through, take it out and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with tzatziki or as an appetizer!