Most Greek pies (we call them pites), whether savory or sweet, are made either by wrapping fyllo pastry around the filling or by layering in many even layers. – alternating the fyllo and then the filling.
There is, however, another type of pie that’s made with torn up fyllo sheets baked in with the filling or batter, – a process that produces a fluffier and quicker result.
These are called “Patsavourópites” literally ‘pites in rags’, partly to describe the pieces of torn fyllo and partly to suggest that they are the poor cousins of the more time consuming and elegant layered pies. Patsavourópites are very common in the Epirus region. The original version was a savory feta cheese pie but a sweet version was developed not long ago by some inspired housewife and the recipe has spread by word of mouth all over the country.
To make a sweet portokalópita you need thin fyllo and yogurt custard scented with orange zest.
Makes 20 squares
450-500gr store bought fyllo (a package)
1 cup vegetable oil (220gr)
1 cup granulated sugar (200gr)
300gr Greek yogurt, full or low fat
zest from 2 oranges
2Tbsps baking powder (20gr)
For the syrup
2.5 cups granulated sugar (500gr)
2.5 cups water or orange juice (550)
50gr orange liqueur like Grand Marnier (optional)
You can use half the amount of syrup suggested if you do not want it too sweet.
Let the fyllo defrost at room temperature and when ready remove from the plastic wrap and unfold. Separate the sheets and lay them on the kitchen table and let them dry out for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a whisk until fluffy and then add vegetable oil, yogurt, orange zest, baking powder and vanilla. Continue beating until incorporated.
Take the dry fyllo sheets and crush them with your hands over the batter. Mix the fyllo- batter mixture with a wooden spatula until incorporated.
Grease a 30 x 35 baking pan and pour the batter; use a spatula to spread it evenly.
If you like you can cut tissue thin slices of orange and place them on the surface of the batter for decoration.
Bake for about 40min until golden brown.
Meanwhile boil the water and sugar for 5min to make the syrup. When you remove it from fire add the liqueur (if you use it).
When the Portokalopita is baked, remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over it.
Let cool and keep refrigerated. Serve cool.