Lighten up homemade pies and tarts with layers of crisp, flaky filo pastry.
The best thing about filo is that you don’t need to use as much as regular pastry, so you can make traditional pastry dishes that are lower in kilojoules. Unlike shortcrust and puff pastry which are made with butter, filo uses flour and water, so each tissue-like sheet has less than 1g of fat. It’s a great swap!
Scrunch the sheets into ruffles to make a sweet or savoury pie topping, or use squares to line a small tart tin or muffin tin, overlapping the pieces at angles to make a secure pastry case. Slice into strips to make spring rolls, fold into triangles for samosas or roll up to make a strudel.
Although filo pastry is traditionally brushed with melted butter between the layers, a light spray of olive oil will give equally crisp and flaky results when baked. Buy it ready-made (it’s an effort to make!) and keep it in the fridge or freezer. The sheets dry out quickly, so when working with them use just one at a time and keep the rest covered with a clean, damp tea towel.
Pampas Filo Pastry Per sheet: 370kJ (89cal), 0.8g fat, 17.6g carb, 140mg sodium
Quick and easy fab filo bites!
Spinach and ricotta triangles
Time to make 40 minutes
300g baby spinach
garlic-infused olive oil
250g reduced-fat ricotta
1/4 cup pine nuts
8 sheets filo pastry
Step 1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Sauté spinach in a little garlic-infused olive oil until wilted. Leave to cool. Combine cooled spinach, ricotta and pine nuts in a bowl.
Step 2 Place a spoonful of spinach mixture on the corner of a sheet of filo. Fold sheet into a triangle, then fold twice more. Spray with olive oil. Repeat to make 8 triangles. Bake for 15–20 minutes and serve with a side salad.
Per serve: 1016kJ (243cal), 11.0g protein, 12.0g fat, 2.0g sat fat, 19.1g carbs, 3.6g sugars, 5.4g fibre, 297mg sodium, 206mg calcium, 3.6mg iron
Low kJ, low sodium, 1 vegie serve
Curried chicken and veg pies
Time to make 50 minutes
400g chicken breast, diced
red curry paste
160ml reduced-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup water
2 cups frozen vegetables
4 sheets filo pastry
Step 1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Brown chicken in a large non-stick frying pan. Add curry paste and sauté for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, water and frozen vegies. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
Step 2 Divide chicken mixture among 4 individual pie dishes. Top each pie with a sheet of scrunched filo and spray with olive oil. Bake for 30–35 minutes. Serve with a side salad.
Per serve: 1134kJ (271cal), 27.1g protein, 8.9g fat, 3.8g sat fat, 17.8g carbs, 5.1g sugars, 5.0g fibre, 750mg sodium, 60mg calcium, 1.9mg iron
Step 1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a sheet of filo pastry with oil. Top with a second sheet; spray again. Fold over twice to make a rectangle. Cut pastry into 2 squares. Repeat with remaining sheets. Cut each square stack into a 14cm-diameter circle. Press each stack into 4 holes of a muffin tin. Bake for 8–10 minutes then cool in tin.
Step 2 Combine yoghurt and cocoa. Spoon into tarts, top with raspberries and serve.
Per serve: 385kJ (92cal), 4.3g protein, 2.0g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 12.3g carbs, 4.4g sugars, 2.2g fibre, 88mg sodium, 99mg calcium, 0.3mg iron