Welcome to The Storied Recipe! I host a unique podcast where every guest gives me a recipe that’s significant to their culture, life, and memories. I make, photograph, and share the recipe with you. I invite you to listen to Dikla's fascinating story, "Jewish Flavors, The World's Flavors" as you make her Tiropitas.
The only time I've been this intimidated to make a recipe was the first time I made a Thanksgiving turkey!! This Greek Cheese Pie recipe (known in Greek as tiropitas) was given to me by Dee Frances, my guest on Episode 005 of The Storied Recipe. But you may know her as One Sarcastic Baker, a professional baker turned blogger/food photographer extraordinaire! I worried that there was no way this little home cook could live up to Dee's standards! Tiropitas are wrapped in filo dough, which is notoriously difficult to work with. That only made me more nervous!
However, the one thing that made me feel much better was knowing that Dee felt this way the first time SHE made them. Tiropitas, is Dee's mother-in-law's signature dish, the one recipe most treasured by their family. The other thing that made me feel better, of course, is that Dee is a lovely, generous, affirming woman that LOVES to help others learn to bake.
But truthfully, my fears were unfounded. I found making tiropitas to be a lot of fun and, in an odd way, very relaxing. The filling itself could not be any easier - literally cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, parmesan, and eggs. (It's clear why they're called Cheese Pies, right? ;-)) And as for the filo (phyllo) dough... that wasn't bad at all. I included a couple of my tricks below the recipe.
Before I share the rest of the recipe, I do have to share Dee's site one more time. I haven't come across a single person that knows her baking science like Dee knows her baking science. As she shared in the Bonus Episode: Dee's Top Tips for Home Bakers, she truly thrives in helping other bakers troubleshoot, improve, and learn. You'll definitely be doing yourself a favor to follow her!!
Dee's Website: One Sarcastic Baker
Dee's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onesarcasticbaker/
Episodes Associated With This Recipe: Jewish Flavors, The World's Flavors
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My Experience Making Tiropitas With this Recipe
It's a great recipe. I didn't have to make any modifications at all. As for working with the filo pastry dough:
Styling and photographing a few steps along the process did mean that the filo dough dried out a little, which is less than optimal. As it dried, I found it was a little easier to brush the strips horizontally, in short strokes, than vertically. This reduced any tearing in the dough.
Dee recommended cooking the pies until they are a very deep golden, which took much closer to 30 minutes for me and my oven. I found that when they cooked to this deep color, the layers all the way down to the filling were crispy.
The first time I made this, I used a lot more filling. The cheese oozed out and onto the pan. The second time I made these, I wanted them to be photogenic, so I used less filling. Very few split and spilled, but they weren't as good with the stingy filling portions! I say embrace the messy and fill with a tablespoon or so.
I also sealed the final fold with butter the second time I made these, which made have helped prevent spilling.