Spinach and pumpkin filling enclosed in coils of crispy filo pastry. These Spinach and Pumpkin Filo Snails are more filling (and easier to make) than they look. A touch of fresh thyme and orange zest add extra flavour!!
There’s something special about transforming paper thin sheets of pastry into a standout dish. This is one of my favourite ways of using filo pastry because the filo snails are so easy and quick to make (and very hard to muck up).
My top tip for this recipe is to be choosey about the filo pastry you buy. My cousin tells me that they have excellent brands of filo pastry in Greece (of course they do). Here in Australia, l think our choices are a bit limited.
The brand l buy is Pampas Filo Pastry. It is silky soft and flexible enough to bend into the desired shape. Other brands l’ve tried, dry out and crack quickly (even if you cover the sheets with a tea towel while you work). If l don’t use all the sheets, l freeze the remainder for later use.
A truly easy dish that is memorable for it’s crispy light pastry and earthy flavours. Impress your friends and family!! They’ll think you went to a whole lot of trouble … I won’t tell!!
Preparation Time: 20 mins Cooking Time: 20 – 30 mins Servings: 4
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 100 g / 3.5 oz baby spinach
- 500 g / 17.5 oz pumpkin, cubed (note 1)
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- pinch of salt
- a good pinch of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F
- In a medium pan, add 2 tbsp oil over moderate heat. Add the pumpkin and saute until soft (roughly 5 mins). Add the spinach and continue to saute until wilted and there is little liquid at the base of the pan (note 2).
- Tip the filling onto a plate. Add the orange zest, thyme, cinnamon and salt. Mix gently. Place in the fridge to cool (5 – 10 mins).
- Remove the filo pastry from the packet (note 3). Lay one sheet on a working surface. Using a pastry brush, brush lightly with olive oil. You don’t need to cover every square inch; just dab here and there. Place another sheet on top of this sheet. Dab with olive oil. Place a final sheet on top (see photos).
- Remove the filling from the fridge. Divide it into 4 equal portions. Place one of the portions of filling along the bottom edge of the pastry. Begin to roll into a long cigar shape. Just before you get to the very end, brush oil along the edge. This will help seal the edges. Continue to roll to the end (see photos).
- Twist the cigar shape into a coil. Try not to roll too tightly as the filo will expand a little during baking. Place on a baking tray. Continue with the remainder of the filling and filo pastry sheets (see photos).
- Brush the coils with a little olive oil. Place in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 20 mins or until golden in colour.
- I am making this dish in a couple of weeks for a luncheon with friends. On the side we’ll be having my Crispy Apple and Fennel Salad … just saying!
- The size of the cubes of pumpkin should be a little smaller than a dice.
- Make sure that you have cooked off excess liquid. You don’t want soggy pastry!!
- Many recipes tell you to cover your filo pastry sheets with a damp tea-towel while you work. You can certainly do this. My filo sheets are packaged with a thin sheet of plastic. This is what l use to cover the sheets while l work. As l’m pretty fast, and the quality of the filo is so good, my sheets don’t dry out.