Saturday, August 27, 2011

Balkan Spiral Pies

It’s cabbage time. I love cabbage and have no problem coming up with recipes for it. In past CSA seasons I’ve been making borscht, cabbage rolls, and sweet and sour cabbage. With my last CSA box, I ended up with two heads, thanks to the swap box.

I used the first head in Cabbage and Cashew Salad for a dinner this week with my Cooking Light cooking club. It was a perfect coleslaw made even better with cashews, but wasn’t very adventurous. That’s why the second head went into a more daring enterprise: Balkan Spiral Pies with Cabbage Filling.

The recipe was hiding away in The Cabbage Family section of my Bon Appetit Vegetable cookbook among the more familiar cabbage recipes. A couple things interested me:

  1. The word pie. I love them sweet or savory. Even with cabbage they had to be good?
  2. The recipe called for phyllo dough. I love that too. It’s one of my favorite Greek ingredients.
  3. It also called for bacon. Can’t go wrong there.

With that I was off to the grocery store to obtain the ingredients I didn’t have, namely bacon and phyllo dough. The recipe starts with cabbage and bacon, but more interesting are the spices used. In addition to sugar, two tablespoons of Hungarian paprika and a teaspoon of crushed caraway seeds, seasoned the cabbage, onion and bacon mix that is the filling for the pies.

Because I was trying to cut down on the fat and calories, I used non-stick cooking spray to soften the phyllo sheets. After ripping the first a few in half, I finally got the hang of it. I sprayed each one with cooking spray before folding it in half horizontally. It was only later that I realized I should have probably folded them lengthwise. After that, I added the filling about an inch from the crease before rolling it up like a cigar before coiling it into something that was about as big as a cinnamon roll.

Later after I ate them, I looked up Balkan Spiral Pies and found this product, which let me know that I hadn’t rolled mine up the right way. The other difference was that the recipe said it would make 12 pastries, but I only ended up with nine slightly smaller portions.

In any case, looks didn’t really matter, since they tasted the same no matter the shape or size. The filling was a nice mix of spicy, from the caraway and paprika, and sweet from the sugar and the maple-flavored bacon I used.

I’m looking forward to trying the recipe again with the cabbage filling, but I’ also am going to make spiral pies the next time I make spinach pie. I also froze a couple of the cabbage spiral pies for later. I think they’ll taste especially good on some upcoming cold winter’s night.

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