Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies (Τυροπιτάκια)

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Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies

Crispy phyllo wrapped around a creamy and cheesy feta filling


When we were kids we had this really annoying habit of trying to lure our parents into picking a favourite amongst us. At the time we didn’t think it was annoying, but as parents now ourselves, we can fully appreciate how tiresome this would have been for our folks. We would do things like draw pictures and then go to our parents asking them which one they thought was nicer. Often times we would hold the picture we hadn’t actually drawn; we tried to be tricky that way. Or, we would ask them to consider questions like, “If there was only 1 koulouraki left, and we all wanted it, who would you give it to?” Other times we would ask them outright – Which kid do you love most?

Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies

Our parents were diplomatic, considerate and smart. They would point out the qualities they appreciated in each of the drawings, avoiding labeling one “the best”. They would assure us that there would never be only 1 koulouraki left; when the supply started to dwindle, they would set to baking a new batch. As for which kid they loved the most, they would describe their hearts growing with the birth of each of us, and that loves was not divided into thirds (their son and two daughters) but instead enhanced by all of us. Then, if we insisted, they would curtly tell us that perhaps they would decide that they loved most the child who asked this particular question the least.

As we have grown, competition between us and our brother has all but vanished. Confident in our own selves, and secure in the support and love of family, the days of trying to best the other are over – almost. The one exception may be in triangle making.

How to fold Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
How to fold tyropitakia or Cheese Pies, in triangles

Years of watching our parents fold thousands of spanakopitakia and tyropitakia, we’ve learned the technique. Or at least, one of us has. Billie shapes her pita triangles into perfect equilateral, and equiangular shapes, the way our mama and baba do, and the way they should be. Helen on the other hand, try as she might to fold the right way, always ends up with an isosceles triangle. She doesn’t even know how this happens; it’s just the way her hands move. Knowing that this makes her sad, our mom has on occasion tried to make her triangles just like Helen’s. She’s a great mom.

Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies

All kidding aside however, regardless of how you shape your triangles (please, no scalenes), the end result will be delicious. In this recipe for tyropitakia, the filling is a mixture of Greek feta and ricotta. The end result is a creamy, cheesy filling that you crunch through crispy phyllo to enjoy. Who knew geometry could be so delicious!

Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies

Helpful hints

How difficult is it to work with phyllo?

Phyllo, also called filo, has an unfortunate reputation of being very finicky to work with. It is delicate. It tears easily. It dries out when exposed to air. All this is true, but it really is not as fragile as all that. If you handle it carefully you will be just fine! Here are a few points that might help:

  • If you can, purchase fresh phyllo as opposed to frozen phyllo. If you can only find the frozen variety, be sure to defrost it slowly in the fridge – otherwise you can end up with a bit of a mushy mess.
  • Do not refreeze phyllo that you have previously defrosted.
  • When using phyllo, cover any sheets that you are not using immediately (like, within 5 to 10 minutes) with plastic wrap (or the wrapping that it came in when you purchased it).
  • Cut your phyllo into the size you need with a very sharp knife, or a pizza cutter.
  • If your phyllo sheet tears, you might still be able to use it strategically. Remember that in most recipes, such as this one, you layer and fold your phyllo. A small tear can therefore be easily camouflaged.
  • If you do end up with dried out phyllo, don’t throw it away! Use it to make this classic Greek dessert Portokalopita.

Looking for other triangular recipes? Check these out!

Milopitakia

Kreatopitakia

Mushroom and chestnut triangles

We love hearing from you!  If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!,  please leave a comment below!

Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies
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Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies

A feta and ricotta filled mini cheese pita
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: meze
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 50 pieces
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper
  • box grater
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

  • 454 grams (1 lb or 16 ounces) phyllo dough we use fresh phyllo
  • 275 grams (10 ounces) feta cheese crumbled
  • 275 grams (10 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil for brushing the phyllo

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grate your feta cheese using your box grater and place the cheese into a medium size bowl.
  • Into the bowl with the feta add your ricotta cheese, egg and the flour. Mix with a fork to combine.
  • Carefully roll out your phyllo dough, and cut your first strip. We usually cut it into 3 inch strips. You will be using two sheets at a time. Brush the olive oil, only on the top layer, and taking a generous teaspoonful of the mixture, and place it on phyllo, and fold each triangle as per photo above.
  • Place each pita, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue until the pan is full. Brush the top of each tiropitaki lightly with olive oil.
  • Bake at 350 degrees. Place the pan on the bottom rack for 10 minutes. After that, move to the middle rack for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden.
  • Remove from oven, and cool slightly on a baking rack. These are best eaten while still warm. But still delicious straight from the fridge.

Notes

We let them cool completely before covering them with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge; otherwise they might become soggy.
This recipe makes approximately 50-55 pieces
You can prepare and fold the tyropitakia the day before baking them.  Brush them with oil, before refrigerating them.
If you'd like to freeze them, prepare them and fold as instructed, brush with oil before freezing. We like to place the unbaked yropitakia on baking trays, place in freezer; once frozen we place them in freezer safe bags, for future use. Do not bake, and freeze.

4 thoughts on “Tyropitakia or Cheese Pies (Τυροπιτάκια)

  1. These cheese pitas are a staple in our house! We do use a go-to recipe but I do like to experiment with different combinations. That way, it because another dish that I can make quickly depending on what I have on hand.

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