People all have different ways of rewarding themselves. In my case each week or every couple of weeks I like to treat myself to one new-to-me item from Trader Joe’s. I’m a bargain shopper and although I love Trader Joe’s it’s not the place I go to when I want to save on fresh produce and dairy. I save Trader Joe’s for special items that I can’t get anywhere else, like this 5 Cheese Greek Spiral ($3.99) that I ended up loving. Put simply: totally delish, highly recommend and would definitely repurchase.
I always see the 5 Cheese Greek Spiral when I go to Trader Joe’s. I usually walk right past it but this time I thought, “why not?” It’s basically one long, cheese filled coil of filo dough. Now I love cheeses but I’ve never been very fond of moldy cheeses. Blue cheese is one of the five cheeses included in the filling and that was what originally turned me off about the pastry but I’m glad I decided to give the pastry a chance because it’s really tasty. I had expected the cheese filling to be very pungent but it’s actually surprisingly mild, like cheddar, meunster or provolone. Flavor-wise there’s nothing particularly unique or revolutionary about the dish. But pastry and cheese, what’s not to love? In my opinion, it’s like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. It’s comforting and really satisfying.
I thought I’d be able to eat the entire thing in one sitting because it doesn’t look like a lot of food but looks can be deceiving. The filo pastry baked up light and crispy but the cheeses are quite heavy, so something like a green salad with a tart vinaigrette was necessary to cut through the richness of the five cheeses. Half of the spiral plus a side salad was a perfectly filling meal for me.
The instructions on the back of the box suggest either baking the pastry in the tray that it comes in or separately on a baking sheet. I chose to bake the pastry on top of a silicone baking mat set on a baking sheet. 25-30 minutes is the recommended baking time but I actually had to add an additional 20-25 minutes to get it to the dark golden brown you see in the pics. I’ve baked filo before and the worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is underbake filo because it’ll be soft and soggy. At the end of the first 25-30 minutes, the top of the pastry looked lovely and golden but looking carefully in between the spaces where the spiral touches itself I could see that the pastry was still moist and soft. I needed an extra 20-25 minutes to dry and crisp the paler, moister parts of the pastry to a light gold. Just something to be aware of in case you decide to purchase the 5 Cheese Greek Spiral. Everyone’s oven works differently so you may find that you need to adjust the baking time too.