This recipe is from FLAVOUR: EAT WHAT YOU LOVE by RUBY TANDOH
I’ve taken inspiration from Turkish börek, wrapping cheese in tissue-thin layers of filo pastry, though my cigars are very different from the authentic versions. I’ve mixed grated beetroot and pistachios through the basic feta cheese filling, complementing the briny clout of the cheese with something a little milder and sweeter, but you can play around with different flavour combinations however you’d like. A good handful of parsley would work well, as would a few chopped olives, a little dill and even some wilted spinach. I know it doesn’t compare in terms of flavour, but pre-grated mozzarella is better in this recipe than fresh mozzarella grated at home: it’s far drier and firmer, allowing a crisper finish on the pastry.
300g cooked beetroot
300g feta cheese
12 sheets filo pastry, each roughly 25x30cm
100g grated mozzarella
Melt the butter, coarsely grate the beetroot, crumble the feta into small chunks and finely chop the pistachios.
Lay a sheet of filo out with one of the short edges nearest to you and brush it all over with the melted butter. (Keep the rest of the filo covered, preferably with a moistened cloth, while you work, or it’ll dry and become brittle.) Scatter some of the feta, mozzarella, beetroot and pistachio in a line across the width of the filo sheet, at the end nearest to you, stopping just short of the edges. Roll the filling up inside the filo to give a cigar-shaped pastry. Brush the outside with more melted butter. Set the filo parcel to one side while you make two or three more, or as many as you can fit in the frying pan at once.
Cook on a medium-low heat for 5 minutes on each side, until both top and bottom are a rich brown colour, and the filling is piping hot. If the pastries stick you can brush the pan with a little oil, but the butter over the filo should suffice to prevent this. Repeat the filling, rolling and cooking until you’ve made all twelve pastries.
Enjoy while hot, either as a fun veggie main, with a grain salad and greens, or by themselves as a snack.