MasterChef winner and Greek food ambassador, Irini Tzortzoglou, presents the indulgent lamb and cheese lattice pie, hailing from her native Greek island of Crete
I come from Crete, where dairy is of excellent quality due to the large number of wild herbs our sheep and goats feed on. In the west of the Island, there is a great recipe that combines leftover cooked lamb, plenty of cheese and very little else, so this recipe of mine is based on that. It has also been inspired by the way that Greeks on some of the islands like to cook lamb, which involves covering boiled lamb with cheese and baking again. I’ve departed from the traditional recipe by using pre-prepared pastry so as to save time on the cooking process. Any mince you have left over would be delicious over a bowl of pasta.
MasterChef winner and Greek food ambassador, Irini Tzortzoglou
- 500g lamb mince
- 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 200g feta cheese, crumbled
- 200g Cretan graviera or other strong hard cheese, grated
- 1 packet of rolled out puff pastry
- 1 small bunch mint, finely chopped
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan assisted.
- Bring a pan with the olive oil to a medium heat. Add the onion and sweat for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the butter and increase the heat. Add the mince and cook stirring continuously until brown. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and the finely chopped rosemary. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Leave to cool.
- Put all the cheese in a bowl and season with some pepper.
- Open up the puff pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicone mat so that you have the short side in front of you. Roughly separate the pastry in three long strips and use two 1cm long incisions as a guide. The intention is to use the middle section for the filling of the pie and cross the side panels over the filling to cover it. To get the lovely lattice design, make diagonal cuts to the left and right panel of the pastry so that you can criss-cross after you fill the pie.
- Start by spreading half the cheese onto the middle panel of the pastry, leaving 1cm clear space top and bottom. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and cinnamon and top with the cooked mince making sure that it has been spread evenly. Cover the mince with the remaining cheese. Roll over the pastry top with the 1cm of clean pastry you left and then start criss-crossing the strips of pastry first from the left and then from the right.
- When you finish, beat the egg in a bowl and use a brush to apply all over the pie. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake in the oven for until golden, approx. 40-45 minutes.
- Serve with a fresh green side salad and enjoy!
To discover more of Irini’s Greek recipes, visit irinicooks.com. Explore Irini’s recipe boxes from The Cookaway at thecookaway.com.
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