Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tyropitakia - Greek Cheese Pies

Phyllo (Fillo) dough is basically paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough used for making pastries in Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines. You can find it in any grocery store in the frozen food section, next to the pie shells and puff pastry. I buy Athens brand because I like the size of the sheets. Each box comes with two packages, with each package containing about 20 sheets. Since its so thin, it dries out super fast and once you cut the top of the bag and pull it out, you basically need to use all of the dough at that time. I've tried putting it back inside the bag, taping it up, and putting it back in the fridge so I could use it another time, but when I pull it out again, it just shatters, so I'm not sure if it can be done. Anyway, it has become one of my favorite things to bake with...and eat. I was completely intimidated by it for years before I finally decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl a few months ago. And come to find out, it's not hard at all. It's a little fickle and you gotta handle with care, but it's pretty forgiving and makes for fabulous eats.

After consuming roughly half my weight in baklava over the past few months, I really wanted to try something savory, so after much research, I finally found this recipe for Tyropitakia (which I have no idea how to pronounce, so we'll just go with Greek cheese pies). I bookmarked. I tried. I loved. The filling is kinda like ravioli, but the flaky phyllo shell makes it especially unique and delicious...and who are we kidding, the abundance of butter definitely doesn't hurt.

So let's get this show on the road...


Recipe adapted from by Cat Cora

  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, grated
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • Dried or fresh parsley to taste
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (I use unsalted)
  • 5-6 sheets commercial phyllo pastry


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the filling, combine all the cheeses together with the parsley, nutmeg, pepper, and egg. Mix well. Pull phyllo from the refrigerator and unroll. Be sure to keep it covered so it doesn't dry out while you prepare the pies. I use the plastic that it comes packaged in, covered by a damp towel. Don't be swayed by recipes that tell you to just go ahead and cover it up with a damp towel. If you do this, all your dough will stick together. And you will curse. I promise. Anyway, brush each piece of phyllo with melted butter before cutting. (The silicone brushes work fine, but I'm sure the bristle brushes probably work better.)

Then cut each piece lengthwise into 3 equal strips.

Place a small dollop of the cheese mix in the middle of the top of each strip.

Now you fold. Folding the phyllo is like folding a flag...fold the right corner to the left to form a right angle and then upward. Continue folding at right angles until you reach the top and have a triangle. Place the triangles on an ungreased baking sheet in absolutely no particular order.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on each side.


Makes approximately 15-18 pies.

1 comment:

  1. I loved these. I think I had like 4 of them. I can't wait to do them myself- they seemed so easy.