Traditional cheese pie

June 04, 2013
With a knowing nod to all the clichés of the golden age of Greek films, with its focus on nostalgia and the anguish felt by Greek expatriates, today’s recipe is full of the taste and aromas of Greece.

And it’s quite odd that in a city – and country – UK- where you can find so many different kinds of pies, in the last few days I have developed a real yearning for a traditional cheese pie.

When it comes to pies, as you know, it’s all about the pastry. If you already know how to roll out dough, then well done, no problem… But if, like me, your housewifery skills leave a lot to be desired, the pastry produced by Anatoli is quite exceptional, although I don’t know where you will find it, apart from a small gourmet grocery on Kallidromiou Street. Alternatively, you can use phyllo pastry and summon all your greasing skills to make it suitably crunchy. My friend Mimi’s mother, who is from Ioannina and makes the best pies I have ever eaten, once told me that the secret is to lightly bake the pastry sheets one by one in the oven before laying them in the baking tray, so that the pastry does not absorb moisture and become soft, but let’s not go too far…

Traditional cheese pie

Ingredients

  • 1 packet phyllo pastry dough
  • 3 tbsp dairy butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tumblers milk
  • 250 gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups kasseri cheese, grated
  • 2 cups spicy kefalograviera cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Lots of pepper
  • Oil for greasing the pastry sheets

Preparation

Heat the butter well in a large pan. Add the flour and roast until dark brown. Pour in the milk and whisk continuously to a soft creamy consistency. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, but not completely. Add the cheeses and mix until well blended with the cream. Crack the egg, add the yolk and white and mix vigorously. Season with the nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

Use a brush to grease a medium-size, ovenproof glass baking dish and lay a sheet of pastry in the dish. Grease this sheet also very well. In this manner, lay three or four sheets, add the filling and cover with four more sheets, taking care to grease them well. With a sharp knife, make a deep cut in the top of the pie and coat with a small cup of oil.

Bake at 180oC in conventional oven mode (heat from above and below) with the baking dish on the bottom shelf, for 30 minutes covered with aluminium foil and a further 20 minutes uncovered.

Tip: if you don’t like nutmeg, finely chopped dill is a great substitute...  

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