This is probably one of my ‘signature dishes’ as it was one of the first recipes I found and made all on my own. It is actually originally a Blue Peter recipe from when they did their cooking bit every other week or so (which was one of my favourite bits). I still have the original print out which I printed off their website in my recipe folder. I have tweaked it slightly since then to make it a little more sophisticated on the palate, but it is still something I really enjoying making and eating.
1 Red Pepper
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Sumac
Salt to taste
225g Cooked Cous Cous
1 tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Puree
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Ras el Hanout spice
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
Handful of fresh, chopped coriander
Salt and Pepper to season
200g Greek Feta Cheese
50-75g melted butter
Box of filo pastry – about 9 sheets
To decorate: Icing sugar, cinnamon and a handful of flaked, toasted almonds
Chop the vegetables into chunks and place onto a baking tray (it may look like a lot but remember they will shrink during cooking). Toss them in the sumac and cumin seeds, season and drizzle over with olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20-25 minutes, giving the vegetables a stir halfway through to make sure they all cooked and coated evenly. Once they are cooked, leave the vegetables to cool off so that they release as much steam as possible and give them a stir every now and then.
Cook your cous cous according to the instructions on the packet. Add to it the tomato puree, garlic, cumin, corianders, ras el hanout, pomegranate molasses and season to taste.
Crumble up your feta cheese and leave to one side.
To assemble your pastilla, brush the bottom and sides of a shallow pie dish and line the inside with about 2 sheets of filo pastry, lay them across each other so you have overhang of the pastry across both edges of the dish. Brush the pastry with more melted butter as this will stop the pasty drying out and helps it stick together.
Next spread half the cous cous over the bottom and press it down. Cover the cous cous with 1 layer of filo pastry and brush with butter.
Spread half the vegetables over the next layer and cover with 1 layer of filo pastry, again using the cross formation alternately and brush with butter.
Repeat this process again with the other half of the cous cous and veegtables and finish with a final layer of your crumbled feta and top this one with 1 layer of filo pastry.
To close the pie, paste butter on all the layers of the pastry around the edge and stick down on top. Brush the top with more melted butter.
Put a baking tray upside down on top of your pastilla and then flip the tray and pastilla over and remove the pie dish.
Brush more butter on the new top so that it will go golden brown in the oven.
Cook the pastilla in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes.
Decorate with sieved icing sugar, cinnamon and scattered flaked, toasted almonds.