Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

Tiropita - Project Food Blog Entry #2

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tiropita, or Cheese Pita, is a traditional Greek dish. It can be served as an appetizer or eaten for breakfast. The best part about it? The cheese. Tiropita involves at least three different cheeses including feta, cottage cheese and kefalotyri (which is hard to find in my parts, so I used Parmesan).  I love the texture of buttered, layered phyllo dough and knew that this would be a fun, yet challenging dish.
Feta cheese has been made in Greece for centuries and is one of the world's oldest cheeses. It is often referred to as "pickled" cheese, because it must be matured and stored in a brine solution. It can be consumed after one to two months of brining, but can be aged for up to one year.  Feta has a fresh, milky flavor and can be quite salty. I typically add it to a lasagna or salad, which makes it 'oh so good'.
Kefalotyri is a firm and dry cheese that becomes flaky and brittle with age, Greek's version of Pecorino Romano. It is made with sheep's and goat's milk, with a salty yet sharp flavor.  In Greece, the name of the region this cheese was made is typically added to the Kefalotyri name.
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made from any style of milk: whole, skim, part-fat. It's an acid curd cheese, which means the milk is coagulated naturally, rather than with the aid of rennet. This cheese is very common in the United States and Europe; also very excellent in a lasagna.
I wasn't very familiar with this classic as my heritage background involves German, Polish and some Danish. To me, that sounds like a lot of meat, potatoes and some good, sweet dessert. Tiropita is not any of those. Many of you may be familiar with the Greek dessert, Baklava. It's a nutty, yet sweet dream in your mouth. When I saw the recipe for Tiropita, I thought of the texture of Baklava and decided to give it a whirl.

I found my recipe at If you're interested in making some Greek foods, I recommend checking that site out. To be honest, I was originally going to make Russian Pelmeni. It looks really good, but I've made ravioli before - why not try something new?!

I'm not sure that I'd make Tiropita again. Mostly, because it was bland. I poured a little honey on top and that seemed to cure the needed sweetness. My husband and co-workers love when I cook or bake too much.

Makes 35 pieces
Don't judge the Parmesan.

3 tablespoons cream of wheat
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
Dash of salt
2 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 eggs, beaten
1 pound phyllo
1 to 1 1/4 cups butter, melted and warm

In a small saucepan, cook cream of wheat in milk and water over medium-low heat for 2 1/2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in salt; cool. Combine cheeses and eggs in a large bowl. Add cream of wheat and beat until smooth. Set aside. -Mine doesn't appear to be very smooth, does it.

Take phyllo out of plastic bag and carefully unfold (this is the tricky part).  Line buttered pan with half of phyllo sheets, making sure to overlap and drape phyllo over sides of pan (see photo to the bottom-right).

Soggy phyllo is very difficult to use. Ugh.
...nearly forgot the butter.

Brush each sheet generously with melted butter. Spread prepared filling evenly over phyllo.

Fold overhanging phyllo over filling and brush with butter. Top with remaining phyllo, buttering each sheet. Trim phyllo sheets used for top 1 inch beyond pan size. -Buttering each sheet takes some time. Be sure to crank up the tunes and be prepared to practice your patience for the week.

Tuck phyllo down the sides with edge of pastry brush to seal. Sprinkle a few drops of water over top of pita to keep phyllo from curling during baking.

Score through top layer of phyllo with a sharp knife, making 3 equal rows lengthwise.

Bake at 350*F. for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serve warm for best flavor. Refrigerate leftovers. To reheat, place in 300*F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

*Tiropita can be made in triangle shapes or in a 9x13-type pan.
*Sick of the word phyllo yet? I know, me too. Enjoy!

Credit: To my husband - for taking photos of me while layering and buttering pastry dough. You're the best.


Peggy said...

sounds like an interesting dish! good luck!

September 27, 2010 at 9:35 PM
Reeni said...

Your tiropita turned out perfect! It sure sounds delicious - I like the idea of honey with it. Good luck in this round! I voted for you!

September 30, 2010 at 12:50 PM

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