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.
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.