Zagori

Fakopita from Zagori (lentil pie)

Traditional Zagorian pie with an unexpected protagonist, lentils!
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Fakopita from Zagori (lentil pie)
Before cooking...

In places like the Zagorohoria, where crops were few and invaluable, families grew pulses to stock for the hard winter days. Even then, their cooking practices were frugal to save as much raw material as possible. This lentil pie was a way to prepare a fulfilling meal for everyone with only a small amount of pulses. The pie’s secret is the pre-baked filo sheet in the middle to prevent it from soaking and softening.

Fakopita from Zagori (lentil pie)

Ingredients

For the traditional filo:

  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 150 g water, lukewarm
  • 35 g olive oil
  • 10 g salt
  • 7 g vinegar

For the filling:

  • 300 g lentils
  • 6 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 dried laurel leaves
  • Oregano (to preference)
  • Salt (to preference)
  • Pepper (to preference)

Note: For a more authentic traditional filo dough, you can use hard flour, albeit you might have to sift it first. Alternatively, you can use ready-made traditional Greek filo sheets.

Execution

  1. Prepare the filling the day before. In a cooking pot, heat some olive oil and saute the finely chopped onions. Add a good amount of water, the lentils, oregano, laurel leaves, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the lentils are done. Add salt and leave the pot aside till the next day, when the stew will be thicker.
  2. In a large bowl, gently stir the ingredients for the traditional filo dough except for the water (flour, salt, olive oil, and vinegar). Add the water slowly while mixing with a spoon. When the liquids are absorbed, knead the mixture until the dough is smooth and non-sticky. Roll it into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3. When the dough is ready, divide it into 5 even balls and roll them into 5 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until mixed.
  5. Place the stew on medium heat, bring it to a boil, add the beaten eggs, and mix until they are incorporated into the batter.
  6. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 200 °C.
  7. Brush a baking pan with olive oil, lay a filo sheet, and cut off the excess dough. Bake it for a few minutes, and leave it aside.
  8. On the same baking pan, lay a filo sheet, brush it with olive oil, and repeat for another filo sheet. Spread half the filling evenly. Cover with the pre-baked filo sheet, and spread the remaining filling evenly. Cover with the remaining two filo sheets brushing with olive oil in between.
  9. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 1 hour (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  10. Let the fakopita cool for a bit and serve.

This traditional Zagorian pie is a powerful combination of a beloved comfort food (the pie) and a highly nutritious product of mother nature, the almighty lentil!

After cooking...

The rock pools between Megalo and Mikro Papingo are one of the most delightful natural sites of Zagori. They were formed by the flow of the Rogovos stream through the region’s limestone rocks. After many centuries, the stream dug a narrow gorge and carved a sequence of small waterfalls and shallow pools. Now, hundreds of summertime visitors enjoy a dip in the crystal clear waters amidst a place akin to something out of a fairy tale!

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...