Orange and bergamot filo cake (Portokalopita)
I first ate this cake in Greece and was intrigued by the soft, layered texture. I then discovered that it is made with yoghurt, eggs and olive oil, rather than butter and flour. The result is something like lightly set custard held together with leaves of soft filo.
Traditionally the Greeks use only oranges and cinnamon to flavour the batter but I like to add some bergamot which gives it an elusive and exotic fragrance. Bergamots are still in season now and their zest and sharp tasting juice help to create a good balance to the sweetness of the orange.
Photo by Athina Kontos
For the syrup:
150g caster sugar
½ cup water
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 orange, halved and juiced
½ bergamot, juiced
For the cake:
150g filo pastry (approx. 5 sheets)
2 oranges, zest and juice
½ bergamot, zest and juice
100g olive oil
80g caster sugar
3tsp baking powder
6 eggs, beaten until foaming
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°Fan
- To make the syrup: put all the ingredients into a saucepan (including the squeezed orange and bergamot halves). Heat slowly to dissolve the sugar then boil briefly to make a thin syrup. Remove and discard the orange and bergamot skins and leave the syrup to cool.
- Oil a baking tin approx. 30x20cm. Tear the filo sheets into small pieces (about the size of a business card) and scrunch them up to make an airy pile of torn pieces in the baking tin.
- Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and whisk well then pour into the tin, over the filo sheets, gently stirring to make sure all the filo is covered.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until puffy and browned then remove and pour over the syrup and allow it to soak in for at least 30 minutes before slicing. I like to eat it warm, with crème fraiche.