tiropita strifti - greek cheese pies

When I was in Greece most days I'd buy a cheese pie for lunch. Some times it would be cut from a larger pie but normally I'd buy an individual pie. My favourite cheese pies were the ones shaped like snails, tiropita strifti. 

Once I arrived home in Sydney I started looking at recipes so I could recreate the cheese pie at home. I found plenty of recipes but you had to make the filo from scratch. Unfortunately I don't have a large enough kitchen bench or table to make filo at home so I had to use store bought filo and winged the filling recipe.

The cheese filling varied from pie to pie but feta cheese was always in the mix. Most online recipes suggested combining cheeses as feta alone could be too salty so I added some ricotta cheese. Some recipes added dill or mint and as I have a little pot of mint growing in my kitchen that's what I added. The rolling process reads more complicated than it really is but you can find YouTube videos that demonstrate the process. 

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Tiropita Strifti – makes 4
8 sheets defrosted filo pastry
Olive oil spray
30g melted butter
1 tsp sesame seeds

200 g feta, crumbled
200 g ricotta
Two eggs
1 tbs chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Grease a baking tray and set to one side. Unwrap the filo pastry then cover the pastry with a damp tea towel while you make the filling.

In a bowl mix the crumbled feta, ricotta, eggs, mint and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Divide into four.

To Assemble 
Stack the 8 sheets together. Lightly spray the top sheet of filo with olive oil spray then flip it over gently pressing it together with the underlying piece of filo. You’ll use 2 pieces of filo per tiropita.

Spread a quarter of the filling along the long edge of the pastry sheets, about 2 cm in from the edge. Fold the 2 cm of dough in over the filling, and also along the sides. Lightly spray the exposed filo pastry with olive oil before gently rolling up like a strudel. 

Once you have made the roll then form it into a snail, tucking in the loose end so the snail doesn’t uncurl. Brush the top and side of the snail liberally with butter before lightly sprinkling with sesame seeds. Place the snail on the tray and repeat the process with the remaining filo pastry and filling. 

Bake in the preheated 190ºC oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the pastry is crisp and golden. Remove to a rack and allow to cool a little. Serve warm with a green salad. 

The commercial filo pastry I used is much thinner and more fragile than the hand made filo used in Greece, but my version still tasted pretty good. I'll definitely be making these again.

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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