Plastos is a delicious old-fashioned Greek corn pie filled with various mixed greens and feta cheese. The crust is so crumbly, made with corn flour. While the juicy greens filling is full of herby flavors. Think of it as a Spanakopita with corn crust.
Plastos was the pie of the poor. In past years Greek Pies were the everyday food for most families. As the ingredients that were mostly in abundance were greens from the garden or wild-collected ones, dairy from sheep or goat (milk, homemade feta for example), and the most basic ingredient, flour (in this case corn flour). Also, pies were very filling. And very convenient for feeding a big family (talking about times people used to have more than 4-5 children).
In different parts of Greece, there are so many versions of corn pie. Plastos is the most popular one. And originates from the Thessaly region.
For The Crust: The pie crust is made with corn flour, sour milk, plenty of olive oil, salt, pepper, and water. It's very crumbly and it's more like a tart crust.
Corn Flour: It's flour made from corn. It's finer in texture than cornmeal and it's not cornstarch. As there is a misconception since cornstarch also comes under the name of cornflour.
Apart from the name, it's very easy to distinguish each from the other. Because corn flour is actual flour with yellow color. While cornstarch (cornflour, one word without space in between) is a refined white powdered starch made out of corn. In some countries, corn flour is also called Maize flour.
To make a real rustic crunchy and crumbly Plastos I highly recommend buying organic, whole-grain corn flour. As the corn flour you find at grocery stores is usually way too finely ground and you can clearly see the addition of colorants. Too vibrant yellow color.
Sour Milk: Sour milk is just this, milk that has turned sour. In Greece, we don't have buttermilk sold in grocery stores. Sour milk is what we use in baked goods. And if it's something you can't find where you live, no worries it will take you just 10 minutes to make it at home. Simply by mixing a small amount of acid (lemon juice or vinegar) along with milk and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes. If you want to know more about sour milk you can check out this post.
For The Filling: The filling is made with various greens and herbs such as spinach, collard greens, chervil, parsley, Mediterranean hartwort, and dill. It also has two types of onions in it red and spring onions, plus plentiful feta cheese.
QUICK TIP: The greater the variety of herbs, the tastier the filling.
Other Ingredients To Add And Substitutions
You can also add beetroot greens and stems (finely chopped), or even nettles. Both are popular additions to Greek pies. As for herbs if you can't find Mediterranean Hartwort which is an aromatic herb, you can substitute it for fennel fronds for example. It's what has a flavor closest to this herb. But you can skip this and add spearmint or mint (5-6 leaves) for an even stronger, more aromatic flavor.
This Crustless Spanakopita has a delicious spinach filling minus the crunch. Instead it's topped with a soft Greek yogurt batter and plenty of feta cheese!
Substituting Sour Milk. You can substitute sour milk with buttermilk. You may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of extra water to the dough though as it's slightly thicker than sour milk.
How To Make It
The Pie Filling. To make the Plastos pie filling, you finely chop and mix together all the herbs along with sauteed onions. Then mix them very well for a few minutes together with salt. Salt will help remove some of their water content. So they won't turn the pie bottom soggy while baking. So after mixing them together with the salt you need to let them sit for a few minutes and then squeeze them as much as you can. And then mix them together with crumbled feta cheese and some olive oil.
The Pie Base. To make the crumbly pie base, you need to first mix together the corn flour with olive oil and salt. This will look like dampened sand. Then mix in the sour milk (or buttermilk), and gradually add the water to it. I recommend adding one tablespoon of water at a time while mixing by hand. As corn flour may look moist and the next minute looks much thicker. So add in the water slowly mixing well after each spoonful. You should end up with a soft, moist, yet crumbly dough that sticks together when you press it. Think of a tart base for example.
The Pie Top. The pie top is made of a thin batter that's spread evenly on top of the greens. The butter is also made with the same ingredients as the pie base. Once this batter is added on top, extra corn flour is sprinkled over it for extra crunch. And on top of all that melted butter is drizzled.
Bake the pie on the lowest rack of a well-preheated oven. To ensure the pie base bakes nicely.
Freezing And Storing The Pie
If you want to freeze the pie it's better to do so before baking it. So the flavor of the pie won't alter. As for storing the pie, you can keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days. Then you may refrigerate for up to 3 more days.
To reheat the pie, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven at a low temperature of 150°C / 302°F for 15-20 minutes.
Serve this pie with some green or Kalamata olives, and a bit of feta. Or serve it together with this saucy Greek sausage. So yummy!
Plastos - Greek Corn And Greens Pie
For The Pie Bottom:
- 2 ¾ cups (330 grams) corn flour (Maize flour) (not cornstarch) ideally organic like this one
- ⅔ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (120 grams) olive oil
- ½ cup (100 ml ) sour milk see here how to make at home
- 8-10 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter at room temperature
For The Filling:
- 9 cups (470 grams ) spinach finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups (100 grams) collard greens mostly the leaves finely chopped
- ½ cup (30 grams) chervil finely chopped
- ½ cup (30 grams) parsley finely chopped
- ⅔ cup (40 grams) Mediterranean hartwort finely chopped see text above for substitutes
- 2 ½ tablespoons dill minced
- 3-4 small (65 grams) spring onions
- ½ cup (65 grams) red onion minced
- 180 grams feta cheese crumbled
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For The Pie Top:
- 1 cup (120 grams) corn flour (Maize flour)
- 120 ml water
- 2 ½ tablespoons (40 grams) sour milk
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) butter melted
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) corn flour (Maize flour) to sprinkle on top
- ½ teaspoon salt
Make The Pie Filling:
- Separate the green parts from the white parts of the spring onions. Finely chop the green parts and add them to a large mixing bowl together with all of the other greens.
- Mince the white parts of the Spring onions and add them to a frying pan together with the red onion and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the onions until soft and golden in color. Then transfer to the bowl with the greens as well. Add the salt and some pepper as well.
- Mix the filling by giving it a good massage for 2-3 minutes until its volume decreases almost by half.
- Rest the filling for at least 30 minutes for the salt to work its magic. Then take handfuls of the greens filling in your hands and squeeze it very well. In order to remove as much water from the greens as possible.
- Transfer the squeezed greens to a new bowl.
- Add the crumbled feta cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. And mix well.
Make The Pie Bottom:
- In a separate bowl mix together the corn flour and the salt also some ground pepper.
- Add olive oil and mix with your hands so the oil spreads evenly. Then add the sour milk and mix again until the mixture absorbs it all and turns crumbly. Finally, add the water in, gradually. Give it a minute or two to absorb it. If needed, add a tablespoon of more or less water depending on the strength of the flour you are using. The mixture should be soft and moist but still crumbly.
- Preheat oven to 190°C / 374°F.
- Grease a round 12-inch (32 cm) baking pan by rubbing the 2 tablespoons of butter all over the bottom and a little bit on the sides.
- Add the dough to the pan into coarse crumbles. Then press with your palms to form a smooth, evenly-thick pie bottom. Press a bit on the sides to create a pie edge that's 2 cm (⅛-inch) in height.
- Transfer the pie filling to the pan by adding handfuls at a time and pressing them lightly to fit.
Make The Pie Top:
- Mix together the water, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sour milk with a whisk.
- Add the corn flour and mix well. The mixture will be runny.
- Pour it very slowly and closely over the greens in order to coat them. Use a ladle to do this. Then with the tip of a spoon spread the batter to fill any gaps.
- Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of corn flour on top. Again filling any gaps.
- Drizzle the melted butter on top and shake the pan gently to help it spread. It's okay if it doesn't spread everywhere.
- Bake the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for about 40-50 minutes. Until deep golden on top with brown bits here and there.
- Remove from the oven and let the pie rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Cut into 14 square pieces. Or bigger ones if you wish. Enjoy!
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