Mpourekakia (mini aubergine pies)

Mpourekakia (mini aubergine pies)


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Last year I had an amazing luxury adventure in Athens, from tasting the street food at local markets to Michelin star meals by the sea. I ate my way through Athens. Eating's often the best way to understand a nation's soul.

The experience of walking through the hustle and bustle of Athens’ central food market, the little quaint backstreets and seeing the vibrancy of the Greek produce (with the huge variety of alluring spices and teas) will be engraved in my mind forever. This escapade was a truly gourmet trip that left me wanting to go back for more.

One of the highlights was the Athens foodie walking tour, which included a private cookery lesson. The whole class was very interesting and informative. The cooking consisted of putting a Greek Sunday dinner together. These mini pies were part of a six-course starter.

Making the other starters mostly consisted of assembling ingredients together: the Greek Salad (tomato, cucumber, feta, olives); aubergine salad, feta salad (feta and red sweet pepper); Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber dip) and lastly, the Dolmadakia with vine leaves (this recipe was a more complex affair.)

The mini pies are very pretty and great as party food. I like the addition of yogurt and spices to the pastry dough. The smell of baking fills the room and entices people into the kitchen. The pastry is quite buttery and melts in the mouth. They can be served as mini pies or as a whole family sized pie, and are tasty and nourishing. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Prepare the aubergines by placing them whole in a heatproof dish in the oven for 20-30 minutes
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Blend the yoghurt, butter, salt, sugar, nutmeg and vinegar in a large bowl
Gradually add the flour, constantly kneading so the dough does not stick to your hands. (You might not need to use all the flour!)
Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 20-30 minutes
To make the filling, at this stage, the aubergines should be ready to be peeled and roughly chopped. Place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, mix well
Peel and chop the aubergines
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
To assemble the pies, roll half of the dough out and reserve the other half covered with cling film, so it does not dry out
Cut out round shapes in the pastry, using a pastry cutter or glass rim, so all pies are the same size
Cut out round shapes in the pastry
Place a small amount of the filling onto the pastry circles, close and either crimp the edges together (the original method) or like me, use a fork to seal the edges (lazy way). Place the pies on some baking parchment on an ovenproof tray
Place the pies on some baking parchment on an ovenproof tray
Repeat the process with the other half of the pastry
Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and brush the mini pies with the mixture. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds on top
Brush the mini pies with the egg mixture
Place the pies in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve piping hot
Serve piping hot
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