Tiropita - cheese pie

all details

Every cuisine has its food bible and for Sophia Heristanidis, it's Neos Tselementes, the encyclopedia-sized book of modern Greek food published in 1968. Along with the recipes handed down from her mother and those picked up from the Greek and Italian women at the factories where she once worked, Heristanidis, 72, had to rely on cookbooks to learn the basics of Greek cooking.

Tiropita - cheese pie
Photo: Simon Schluter

Ingredients

  • For the filling
  • 1kg ricotta cheese
  • 650g fetta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • For the filo pastry
  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 350g melted butter, for brushing on the pastry (or cheat and buy two packets of filo pastry)

Method

For the filling

Combine ingredients with a spoon until mixed.

For the filo pastry

Add salt to the water, then oil and vinegar, mix thoroughly, then add the eggs one at a time and whisk thoroughly.

Slowly add the flour. The dough will be quite sticky but work it gently until it comes together, then knead for 15 minutes. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into four equal portions and roll into balls. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin until very thin (this can be quite time-consuming). Brush dough with melted butter and cut each piece of dough into three strips. Place the strips on top of each other so there are four pieces of pastry consisting of three layers. Refrigerate for two hours.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll each piece of pastry into the shape of your baking dish, keeping two of the pieces slightly larger. Place the smaller layer of pastry on to a greased dish, then add half the filling. Add the bigger top layer and crinkle with your fingers so the pita looks good. Repeat for the second pie.

Brush the top of the pies with the remaining butter and bake in a 180C oven for 30 minutes or until golden on top.

Makes two large pies. Each pie serves around 5 people.

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  • Cuisine - Greek

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