Tag Archives: pie

Tiropita (Greek Cheese Pie)

Back when I was young, I remember my mom hosting a baby shower in my childhood home – gosh, it must have been for my cousin Sydney, but my mom or aunt would have to confirm.  She hit up our Greek market for olives and fresh feta and grape leaves, none of which interested me at the young age of 10.  But she also scored triangles of spanakopita (spinach was still gross to me at that age) and these miraculous cheesy alternatives called tiropita.  I had my first taste of them sneaking one before the guests showed up and man, what a treat.  Salty feta and crisp, buttery phyllo folded into golden triangles of deliciousness.

All of this was well before phyllo dough and phyllo appetizers became common fare at the market, and I’m kind of happy that it’s so easily accessible now.  I’m able to pop into the grocery and make a lavish cheese pie of my own, all without any crazy trips to the market.  I cut down on the traditional amount of feta and amp up the flavors with nutmeg and dried mint.  I keep things creamy with a bit of ricotta as well, but feel free to substitute other cheeses such as cottage cheese or even crumbly, salty mizithra.  Though I typically make this in a 13x9x3 inch pan and cut it into squares, this also works exceedingly well in a deep dish 9 inch round pan cut into triangles.  If you’re planning a party of sorts, consider making this tiropita with a spinach pie as an accompaniment and a greek salad to tie the whole thing together.  It’s a whole lot of buttery goodness without any fuss.  And we all know that fusses are way overrated.

Recipe for

Tiropita

Ingredients
6 eggs
1/2 tbs. oregano
1 tsp. dried mint
12 oz. of feta, crumbled
1/4 tsp. of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. of parmasean
16 oz. of ricotta
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1 stick of butter
1 box of phyllo

In a standing mixer (or with an egg beater), mix together all of the ingredients except for the phyllo and butter until well incorporated.

Grease a 13 x 9 in baking pan. Working carefully and quickly, lay out a sheet of phyllo and butter with a pastry brush. Keep on alternating melted butter and phyllo until you have laid down half of the phyllo. Pour the cheese mixture on top of the phyllo. Top with alternating layers of phyllo and butter. Once you’ve finished with all of the sheets, cut the pie into squares before baking.

Place in the oven and bake on 350° for 45-50 minutes. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. Let sit for around 5 minutes before cutting. Serve.

Savory Meat Pie

From empanadas to pasties to pastel, the world loves a good meat pie.  This version, though similar in construction to the French Canadian tourtiere, is all its own – a hearty blend of meat, vegetables and spices that produce a pie that looks gourmet.  And yet, it only takes a few minutes of actual work – the meat becomes meltingly tender from simmering in milk and wine for a little under an hour, which you can leave bubbling away while you take care of other things.  Not a bad deal at all.

I use all beef in this version, but the pie holds up to absolutely any type of protein or game.  Pork works exceedingly well, as does bison or buffalo.  Venison, too.  You can even make a blend of what you’ve got on hand – ground turkey would be exceedingly happy in this pie when combined with beef or pork.  When you seal up the pie, you brush it with a simple egg wash to elevate store-bought pie crust to photo-worthy culinary majesty.  Truly, it’s a couple of little tricks that make this pie something worth keeping on hand for a rainy day.  Comfort food at its best :)

Recipe for

Savory Meat Pie

Ingredients
2 lbs. of ground beef
1 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme

1 tbs. of worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. of ketchup
1/4 tsp. of allspice
1/8 tsp. of cloves
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of dried sage

2 c. of milk
1/2 c. of dry white wine

1 c. of bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 tbs. of milk or cream
2 pie crusts (can be store bought)

In a dutch oven, brown the beef (or ground meat of your choosing).  When it’s no longer pink, add the onion, celery and garlic and stir.  Add the bay leaf and thyme and let cook until the vegetables start to release liquid, which should take about a minute.  Add the worcestershire sauce, ketchup, allspice, cloves, salt, white pepper, black pepper and sage and stir.  Pour in the milk and white wine and let simmer away on medium heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45-60 minutes.

Take the meat off the heat and let cool slightly.  Stir in the cup of breadcrumbs and let sit while you prepare the pie crust.

In a 9 inch round cake pan that’s at least 3 inches high (this is a deep crust pie) and grease with cooking spray.  Press one of the crusts on the bottom and sides of the pan.  Tear a slight bit of crust off the second pie crust and press into the pan so that there is more dough to cover the entire pie pan.  If you have slight tears, mend them by easing the dough together to repair.  Take your meat mixture and stir in two of the eggs.  Pour the meat into the pie crust.  Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges.  In a small bowl, beat together the remaining egg with the milk or cream.  Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash.

Bake in a 375° for 25 minutes or until the top is gloriously golden.  Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.