Our Thanksgiving and other holidays always include tiropita (cheese and egg pita) and spanakopita (spinach and feta pita). Being a Greek immigrant, my mother was not familiar with Thanksgiving, but did a great job of learning the dishes and making them incredible. She made my dad all the traditional fare he was used to, but also included a couple of Greek staples. It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving if I don’t get to eat tiropita and spanakopita. I make spanakopita for my family on a regular basis, but I save tiropita for special occasions. It is an amazing cheesy and buttery indulgence. There is simply nothing else like it. I hope you make this part of your Thanksgiving menu. It is the perfect make-ahead side dish (see the bottom of the post, for how to make days or even months ahead).
My mother was kind enough to let me share her amazing tiropita recipe. Thanks mom! She has created a unique and flavorful combination of cheeses. She has always been an amazing cook, and I feel so honored to be able to recreate this dish. I love you mom!
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup for phyllo
16 oz. phyllo (fillo) pastry sheets (#4 if specified)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Remove the phyllo dough the day before and place in the fridge to defrost.
Prepare the cheeses: grate the Romano and cut the feta into small cubes or crumble. Break the eggs in a large bowl and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and whisk well. Add the ricotta cheese and whisk until smooth. Add the Romano and feta cheeses and stir until incorporated. Place the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and stir well. I use a 2:1 ratio with olive oil and butter. I prefer more oil for the taste and texture. Many people use all butter, but that is a personal choice. The olive oil and butter are wonderful together.
Remove the phyllo sheets from the fridge and open. Keep it covered while working with it, because phyllo dough dries out quickly. Cut into 3 inch wide strips. Remember to keep parts of the dough you are not working with covered. Remove your cheese and egg mixture from the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using a pastry brush, brush three 3 inch wide sheets with the oil and butter mixture and place one on top of each other. Place 1 tsp. of the cheese and egg mixture just at the edge closest to you. Make your initial fold away from you and into a triangle shape. Ensure this first fold is sealed well. Continue rolling until you run out of phyllo and just tuck the end piece underneath. Take another 3 inch wide piece of phyllo and brush with the oil and butter mixture. Place the triangle you just made at the far end nearest you and roll it until you have used up all the phyllo and tuck the remainder underneath. I do this, to ensure that there will not be any leakage. You can certainly use four sheets initially and skip this step. If you like less phyllo, use 3 total sheets. Repeat until you have used up your ingredients.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets and in the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Remove and check to see if they are more golden on bottom than top. If that is the case, flip over. Either way, place back in the oven for 5 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and bottom when done. Note: Do not let the phyllo dough get dark brown, it will turn bitter.
Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Notes on phyllo:
#1 I use a #4 phyllo. If you purchase a national brand that is in a regular grocery store, it is most likely a #4. They are not always labeled. The larger the number, the thicker the phyllo sheets.
#2 When brushing the oil and butter mixture, pretend you are painting something. It is all in the wrist. Do not apply too much pressure, use your wrist to make the strokes.
#3 I like making my own phyllo dough, but never do for triangles. I will share my homemade dough recipe down the road.
#1. This is a great make-ahead food. After you make the triangles, freeze them without baking them. Place in a freezer safe container for up to a couple of months. Remove and bake. You can also make a couple of days ahead and store in the fridge. Just remove and bake.
#2. Freeze left-overs. Place in the oven to defrost and warm through.
Zoale LLC Copyright 2015
Tiropita is perfect for any meal of the day, including breakfast, and is the perfect small bite for any event.