We’re still in the realm of the springform here, but it is, nevertheless, a different sort of pie. Quite simply, it’s a pie for those of you who don’t want to make pastry. I know that you can buy shortcrust not only ready-made but ready-rolled, but that never seems a happy choice to me; buying ready-made filo dough, on the other hand, is quite simply what you do. (Though, until recently, I was far more frightened of taking the filo sheets from the box than I was of making my own basic pastry.) Correspondingly, I use canned chickpeas, though please feel free to soak and cook the dried ones if you prefer.
I can’t claim this as an Iranian creation, but I certainly had the tastes and fragrances of some Iranian dishes in mind.
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small onion or ½ large onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 plump zucchini
- Generous ½ cup basmati rice
- 2¼ cups vegetable stock, or chicken if you prefer
- 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
- Scant ½ cup melted butter
- 7 ounces filo pastry dough
- 8-inch springform pan
Preheat the oven to 400°F and put in a baking sheet.
Gently fry the cumin seeds and onion in the olive oil until the onion’s soft. Add the turmeric and coriander. Dice the zucchini (unpeeled), add them to the onion mixture, and cook on a fairly high heat to prevent the zucchini becoming watery. When they are soft but still holding their shape, add the rice and stir well, letting the rice become well coated in the oil. Add the stock ½ cup at a time, stirring while you do so. When all the liquid has been absorbed the rice should be cooked, so take it off the heat, stir in the chickpeas, and check the seasoning.
Brush the insides of the springform pan with some of the melted butter. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with ¾ of the filo, buttering each piece as you layer. Leave a little filo overlapping the sides, and keep 3–4 layers for the top. Carefully put in your slightly cooled filling, and then fold in the overlaps. Butter the last layers of filo and scrunch on top of the pie as a covering. Brush with a final coat of butter, and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the filo is golden and the middle hot. Check this by inserting a slim, sharp-bladed knife (or cake tester). If, when you remove it, it feels hot when you press it against your wrist, the pie’s ready.
This recipe serves 8.