This stafidhopitta is the invention of my mother, Vasoulla, created in 1983 as an alternative to baklava and was first made on TV by her on BBC2’s Food & Drink in 89.
I too, loved appearing on the programme aged around 9 or 10 I think (!) giving me my first taste of what would become a career in TV and film.
…Back to the dessert, this golden filo pastry treat filled with succulent sultanas, oranges and orange liquor is devoured by my husband and kids (I make theirs without the alcohol).
Stafidhopitta is affectionately known as the older sister to baklava in this house, similar to it’s ‘nutty’ counterpart yet softer, fruiter and more delicate, a real treat after a Greek meze.
I just need my mum to create a vegan version for me, now!
225g butter, plus extra for greasing
375g packet fresh filo pastry
225g sultanas, soaked overnight (water drained the next day)
2 medium organic and free-range eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 cloves, crushed
Zest and juice of 2 fresh oranges
2 tbsp orange liquor
2 tsp cinnamon
For the syrup:
350g granulated sugar
300 ml water
75g clear honey
2 strips of lemon rind
1x 2 cm stick cinnamon
4-5 whole cloves
2 tbsp orange blossom water
Preheat the oven to 180 c, gas mark 4.
Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm x 5cm deep baking tray.
Melt the remaining Flora Buttery in a small saucepan over a low heat.
Lay the filo out on a bench.
Cover with a dry tea towel then a damp one to prevent it from drying out.
Line dish with a sheet of filo and using a pastry brush, lightly butter the filo.
Top with another sheet of filp and brush it with the Flora butter.
Continue until about half of the sheets are used.
In a large clean bowl, mix together the sultanas, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, orange juice and zest and orange liquor and spread the mixture over the pastry in the tray.
Layer up the remaining sheets of filo on top of the sultana mixture, brushing each sheet with butter, or before, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered.
Turn any overhanging pastry and tuck in the side.
Use a sharp knife to score the top into diamonds.
Sprinkle lightly with water and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool.
For the syrup, heat the sugar, water, lemon rind and lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and orange blossom water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Cook over a moderate heat until the sugar has melted.
Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Let the syrup cool slightly, remove the lemon rind and spices and pour it over the stafidhopitta .
Leave to cool, cut into small diamond-shaped pieces and serve.
stafidhopitta keeps well in the refrigerator for up to one week.