A crisp, crunchy cracker made with Greek cheese and a bit of cayenne heat.
Cheese and crackers are a universal snack, and the vast array of both cheeses and crackers means that the combinations are endless. The only thing better than cheese and crackers is cheese in crackers, and so we thought it would be a good idea to create a cracker recipe which uses one of our favourite Greek cheeses. And guess what?? We were right!
We’re not exactly sure when our parents starting making these delightful little cheese pies, but we are pretty sure we know their inspiration. We are blessed to have close, long time friends who are originally from the island of Crete. So throughout the years, we have frequently been privileged guests in Cretan homes, enjoying not only our friends’ wonderful company, but also their delicious food.
If you have never had cheese saganaki…we’re sorry. But, we’re also really happy that you are reading this, because now, you’ll be able to make this easy, fantastic cheese appetizer for yourself, and anyone else you want to be really nice to.
Our parents have made this fried cheese meze many ways over the years, and each method was quite delicious…because, fried cheese! But, the winner method and recipe actually comes from Akis Petretzikis (sorry Ma and Ba). If you love Greek food, you have most certainly heard of this young, hip, tattooed Greek chef. He is very handsome popular! In fact, his website, Akis Kitchen was recently voted Number 1 of the Top 40 Greek Food Blogs. Another fun fact, Mia Kouppa, (just a few months after we posted our first recipe), was voted NUMBER 9 on that same list! What!!??? We know….crazy!!! And wonderful!!
In Greece, this week marks the last week of a festive carnival season, before the start of Great Lent, which precedes Orthodox Easter. It is a week where many abstain from meat, but happily over indulge in cheese and dairy products in anticipation of the upcoming period of fast, which for many, typically prohibits most animal products. Even those who will not follow a strict fast enjoy the opportunity to celebrate and feast on cheese and things made with cheese. These tyropites, with homemade phyllo dough, are our nod to this carnival week of Tyrini (cheese week).
There are so many ways to make tyropites, and every family certainly has their favourite recipe. This is ours. Although making tyropites using store-bought phyllo dough (similar in technique to the spanakopitakia we have shared with you) is another delicious option, making your own phyllo adds another level of deliciousness. In this particular recipe the phyllo is made with yogourt (let’s get as much dairy in here as we can) and the filling is a mixture of ricotta cheese and Greek feta; a combination which is flavourful and light. The result are small packets of creamy, cheese filling wrapped in a flaky, but light, dough. Lovely.