Thursday, 24 January 2013

Placenta Perfecta

There was no hiding my disappointment with the Placenta recipe - this was supposed to be a dish worthy of the gods themselves.  Instead, I ate enough to be able to write about it, and sacrificed the rest to a god called 'the bin'.  Knowing that it could be done better, I decided to give it another go.  Just to see how good it might be, I've abandoned the pastry-making process and used some shop-bought filo pastry.  The benefits are that:

a) I have something to try and replicate with my own pastry making.


b) it makes it more accessible to you, the reader.  

We will soon revisit Roman pastry in a bid to perfect it for future recipes.

The results were fantastic, with the crisp outer pastry complimenting the oh-so-indulgent creamy honey-cheese insides.  It was also filling, without being stodgy.  It is with a watering mouth that I introduce you to this recipe - now with measurements and timings!

Placenta Perfecta


  • 270g Filo Pastry
  • 250g Ricotta Cheese
  • Lots of Honey
  • Dried Bay Leaves
  • Olive Oil


  • Put all of the Ricotta into a bowl, and add as much honey as you'd like.  Taste it as you go along until you've reached perfection.  I added about 5 tbsps.
  • The Filo, when bought, should come in folded sheets.  Take 3 or 4 full sheets for your outer crust.  Then fold what is left in half, and cut into rectangles 2 or 3 sheets thick.  These rectangles will create the layers inside the placenta, taking the place of the tracta, so size them accordingly.
  • Oil whatever tray or dish you plan to bake this on, and arrange enough oiled bay leaves to form your base.  Place the crust layer of Filo on top of this, and one of the Filo rectangles in the middle of that.
  • On top of this rectangle, spoon the cheese/honey mixture.  Place another Filo rectangle on top of that, and continue until the cheese is gone, or until you wish to stop.
  • Fold the outer crust over the top, chopping off any excess.  Decorate with an oiled bay leaf, and place into a cold oven at 150 Celsius.  We are NOT covering the placenta this time, as we want the pastry to be crisp.  Cook for 45 minutes.
  • Serve, love, and enjoy!


  1. I'm having dinner guests on Saturday for Tagine chicken. I think I'll try this for dessert.

  2. Well, I'm happy to report that I had a dinner party tonight and my PLACENTA was a success! The guest loved it so much they wanted the recipe.

    I added sliced almonds to the ricotta and honey mixture which gave the filling a nice crunchiness to it. The filo dough I used was rectangular, so it came out looking like a large, crisp burrito. One guest, a former chef, suggested that grilled peaches would be the perfect accompaniment and after thinking about it, I agree.

    Thanks PtG, and Cato, for a great recipe!

  3. ha ha and there was me thinking it was actual placenta you used!! glad i'm not have actual real placenta lol

    1. I eat pretty much anything, but I think I'd have to draw the line there!

  4. Hi there,

    I also tried this recipe and was somewhat disappointed with the outcome. The problem is that the classical recipe uses semolina and flour doughs that doesn't contain any leavening agents so after baking the outer layer is pretty hard. I think using something like puff pastry is a good idea because it ensures that the outer layer is soft and crunchy. Good thinking on that!

    But hey, back then people had limited resources and equipment so I must say that aside from the hard outer layer, the recipe was pretty amazing.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Cheers for letting me know how your attempt went. After some experimenting, I think that the key is to cook the dish covered, so that the tough ancient 'pastry' has a chance to 'steam' and soften.

      But, for sheer ease, it's hard to beat modern pastry.