Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tyropitakia (Greek Cheese Pies)

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For this month's Greek-inspired Chef Spotlight Dinner, I prepared the following Cat Cora recipe. One of my favorite ingredients used in Greek cuisine is phyllo dough. How can anyone resist buttery, flaky pastry? The versatility of making both sweet and savory dishes using phyllo dough is another reason why I'm such a fan. For today, I made tyropitakia which is a mixture of cheeses wrapped in layers of phyllo. Once you get used to handling the fragile dough and buttering each layer, making this goes quickly. Don't worry about having all the phyllo layered perfectly on top of each other as you make this since it will ultimately get folded and brushed with butter.


Tyropitakia (Greek Cheese Pies)
recipe from Cat Cora



1/2 pound feta, crumbled
1/2 pound ricotta
1/2 cup kasseri, grated*
1/4 pound cream cheese
1/2 pound butter, melted
Chopped parsley to taste
Grating nutmeg, to taste
2 eggs, well beaten
1 package commercial phyllo pastry
White pepper, to taste

To make the filling, combine the all the cheese together with the parsley, nutmeg, pepper, and eggs. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour, refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pull phyllo dough from the refrigerator and unroll. Make sure to keep the dough covered at all times while using, because it dries out quickly. Cut the phyllo into strips. (If you want to make smaller tyropitakia, cut into 6 strips; for medium sized cut into 4 strips and for large sized, cut into 2 strips.)

One strip at a time, brush with the melted butter and place a small dollop of cheese mix in the middle of the top of the strip. 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 a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on each side.

*Kasseri is a Greek cheese that's similar to mozzarella on slightly sharper. I purchased this at Whole Foods Market. If you can't find this cheese, you can substitute with mozzarella cheese.

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