Saturday, January 24, 2015

The easiest and quickest tyropitakia (Greek individual cheese pies)

Sometimes recipes can be quite simple, as simple as they can get really. That doesn’t mean they are less delicious or that they lack in flavor or panache. A recipe doesn’t have to be difficult, laborious or extravagant to be worthwhile. There are times when efficiency, swiftness and simplicity of ingredients, is key.




Greek cuisine is like that many times, especially when it comes to mezedes. Mezedes are small, simple dishes made to accompany or prelude the main dish, or to accompany a glass of beer, ouzo or wine. This one is such a mezes and yet another version of tyropita, cheese pie.




In Greece, tyropites can be made with all sorts of dough. Sfoliata (puff pastry), kourou (yoghurt pastry) and of course phyllo. Phyllo is the most widely used dough in Greece for pies (phyllo / φύλλο is a Greek word which means leaf). There are many types of phyllo in Greece; the paper thin type which is normally used to make sweets like saragli, baklava or galaktoboureko, the slightly thicker but still very thin phyllo (called kroustas in Greek) used both for savory and sweet pies, and then there’s the thicker phyllo (horiatiko/rustic phyllo) which is mainly used for more hearty savory pies like tyropites, spanakopites, hortopites (wild greens pies) or kreatopites (meat pies).


I make my own hand-rolled phyllo when I have time and I’m in the mood, which is by far the best, but most of the times, let’s not kid ourselves, I buy it ready made. This time, I used horiatiko phyllo, the thick one, to make these shallow-fried tyropitakia, possibly the most simple, easy pies that you can make. With a feta, egg and dried mint filling, they are fried in sunflower oil—although you can fry them in olive oil but they will be heavier— and they are incredibly delicious.




Rolled into a pipe-like shape (the musical instrument that is) called flogera in Greek, they are ultra crispy with the feta filling oozing out in all its exquisite saltiness, while the scent of mint tickles your nose. With a glass of ouzo or a beer, you have a perfect little Greek meze.




More Greek cheese pies:
Tyropita (cheese pie) with puff pastry
Tyropitakia with Greek yoghurt dough/kourou





Tyropitakia with horiatiko phyllo (Greek individual cheese pies with thick phyllo)

Try not to use the regular phyllo but search for the thick one. Regular phyllo will absorb more oil while frying and will be less crispy.

The way I roll the dough makes the tyropitakia even crispier, with many edges. Don’t worry about not being sealed at the ends. Rest assured there’s no danger of the filling spilling out, as long as you follow the instructions, or just look at the photos below.


Yield: 48 tyropitakia

Ingredients
12 sheets of phyllo (preferably the thick type)
500 g Greek feta, grated
2 medium-sized eggs
½ tsp dried mint
Freshly ground white pepper, 4-5 turns of the pepper mill
Sunflower oil for frying

Special equipment: wide frying pan, absorbent kitchen paper


Preparation
In a medium-sized bowl mix well feta, eggs, mint and pepper with a spoon.


Open up the package of phyllo and roll out the sheets. Cut them all at once in half lengthwise and then cut them in half crosswise to create 48 pieces about 20x17cm each.

Take each piece of dough and place 1 tsp of filling near one corner. Roll the phyllo like in the photos below. Brush the end corner with a little water so it sticks together and doesn’t open up while frying.


Fill the bottom of a wide frying pan with oil by 1-2 cm and place over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, fry the tyropitakia in one layer, 1 minute per side, until crispy and golden brown, being careful not to burn them.

Transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil. Fry the rest of the tyropitakia.
Serve while warm.


19 comments:

  1. This looks like an easy enough recipe for me to try. If I was to be in a lazy mood and wanted to use the ready made phyllo, where would I buy it in NL? Mediterranean stores? Thanks in advance :)

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    1. Hi Senja. You wouldn't be at all lazy by using ready made phyllo. hat's what I use most of the times :) I find Greek phyllo at Sligro in The Hague but you can find it at Mediterranean stores, yes. Hope you enjoy!

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  2. they look soooo crispy! Simply perfect idea!

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    1. Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ!!

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  3. When Doreen made us tyropitas for an appetizer one evening, they were packaged in little triangles and baked. The wrapping and folding looked very time consuming so I haven't considered making them. I should also say that I couldn't remember their name so called them "torpedoes!" The funny thing is that yours ARE shaped like torpedoes - and such light, crispy ones at that! Will definitely try these and report back! xox, d

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    1. Hi David. Traditional tyropitakia are triangle-shaped and fried. Making the triangles is sooo easy. I must post it sometime, but I prefer this shape because they become more crispy. I would love to hear how you liked them if you do try them. xx

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  4. I made cheese pies in so different ways, yet this one is something else....
    And I really like that you used dried mint...

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    1. Hi Jasmin. In Greece we use a lot of dried mint in various recipes.

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  5. Those look so good! The photographs are great too. I usually make triangular shaped ones and bake them in the oven but I must try your (far more authentic) method!

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    1. In Greece we make triangular ones and fry them (the traditional tyropitakia). Here I tried a different rolling of the dough to create more crispy parts. Cigar-shaped tyropitakia are also traditional.

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  6. Is is possible to freeze these after they are formed but before they are fried? I'm a single cook and would love to treat myself to just 2 or 3 of these if I don't have guests joining me.

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    1. Hmm I wouldn't do that to be honest because they're so easy and quick to make on the spot. But it's worth giving it a try. Let me know how it worked out :)

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  7. Oh, I definitely need to try these!

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    1. This pie looks delicious! I must try this recipe! I love Greek food.

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    2. Thanks Simona! I hope you enjoy them. They're so easy and quick to make!

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  8. I just made the filling but used some left over puff pastry. They are really delicious and my husband loves them!! Thank you for the recipe and I will defintely be making them again :)

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    1. Thank you Kim. I'm so glad you enjoyed them!

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