A perfect mid-week meal

PREP TIME: 25 mins
COOKING TIME: 30 – 35 mins
IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, crowd-pleaser

WINE MATCH: Suzie (Michael Sutton’s Cellar), recommends a chardonnay from almost anywhere or for the red wine lovers a youngish Côtes du Rhone would be delicious!

Pie celebrations

It’s National Pie Day in the US on January 23rd.

Which is why I have committed to making a pie this week.

I love pies.

But sometimes making the pastry after a long day, busy day, isn’t appealing.

However, this cheeky little recipe from the Hairy Bikers is the perfect midweek-pie-meal.

It’s also pretty healthy due to the absence of (deliciously buttery) short-crust pastry.

Leave that indulgence for the weekend pie making!

This is all about the filling and topped with light, crunchy filo.

It’s become a family favourite.

Perfect pastry for a January re-group

We all get to January and want to have a little food and drink re-group.

It’s never an easy task with cold, murky weather outside.

Comfort food is all you really crave.

But you’re mentally committed to a healthier January lifestyle.

And that’s why this pie ticks both boxes.

Comfort food and healthier.

And we can thank filo pastry for that.

A good option for your hearts health

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), your usual pie pastry pie is the culprit for your heart’s health.

Obviously, an easy way to reduce this is to just have the pastry on top, not all in-casing.

I know, can you still really call that a pie??

I’d personally say ‘no’ but we’re talking January re-group so bare-with.

The BHF says by doing this simple (catastrophic) manoeuvre means you’ll reduce saturated fat per portion by a whopping 40%.

And calories by a quarter.

But even better, simply switch your pastry from shortcrust or puff to filo.

This is the lowest-fat pastry by far, with 2.9g fat per 100g.

Compare this to 26.2g for puff.

Or 31.4g for shortcrust.

Filo is also the lowest-calorie option too.

So, there you go, filo for January pies!

And it’s actually a nice change have a light crispy topping.

What is the difference between filo and puff pastry?

Although both pastries a nice and flaky, they’re very different.

Usually, filo is often used for delicate Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.

It’s mostly made of flour and water and you only use butter to brush between layers before baking.

You can make lovely tarts using filo.  

Puff pastry is denser and, let’s be honest, full of butter.

Puff can be used for pies, tarte tartin, quiche, sausage rolls… more robust cooking.

Top tips on handling filo

This is for those of us who will never make it.

I see no point when it comes to filo or puff pastry.

It’s time-consuming and unless you find it relaxing to make, I go for the bought options.

How to handle:

  • Filo will dry out quickly once exposed to air, so only take a small amount out of the packaging at a time.
  • Have your oil or melted butter ready before you take out your pastry so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry sheets to try to avoid ripping.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush oil or butter on evenly.

There you have it.

The perfect January compromise for pie-making… filo.


Do you have a favourite filo pastry recipe? Leave a comment…

Chicken and ham filo topped pie

Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, chicken and ham pie, FILO PASTRY, pie
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 people
Cost £



  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium leek, cut thinly
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 chicken breasts (approx 175g), cut into small chunks or strips
  • 100 g smoked ham, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300 g creme fraiche (go healthier with half-fat)
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 sheets filo pastry, each about 38 x 30cm
  • 1½–2½ tsp sunflower oil


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  • In a large non-stick frying pan, add some sunflower oil and on a low heat add the onion and crushed garlic. Cook until the onion is softened, but not coloured (approx 5mins).
    Add in the leek, stirring in and cook for 1 minute more.
    Now add in the chicken and cook through.
  • Next, pour over the white wine and 100ml of the water and dissolve the stock cube in the pan by squishing it with a wooden spoon.
    Keep simmering on a high heat and stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by about half. Then remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, add ham strips (about 1.5cm wide) and add sprinkle the flour on top and toss lightly.
  • Now, add the chicken, onion, leek and stock mixture, the rest of the water and the crème fraiche.
    Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and stir all the ingredients together until just combined.
    Spoon into a 1.5-litre pie dish.

Filo pastry

  • Put the 3 filo pastry sheets on a flat work surface on top of each other and cut with a sharp knife into strips – you should get around 9 long strips.
    Put some oil into a small bowl and using a pastry brush, lightly oil each strip, then scrunch up gently and place on top of the filling.
    Do this with each strip, adding them close to each other, until you have covered your filling.
  • Bake the pie for 30–35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  • Serve.


Note: make sure you have defrosted your filo pastry before beginning and only use what you need, keep the other sheets for another time.
Inspired by: Hairy Bikers