Greek Tyropita – A Perfect New Year’s Hors d’oeuvre

One of my favorite Greek dishes is tyropita. It is a Greek delite comprised of filo dough, feta cheese and other various cheeses and herbs that is a perfect hors d’oeuvre for the holiday season. My husband, daughter and I recently made tyropita triangles for Christmas. We took it to my girlfriend’s brunch, a Christmas Eve party and a Christmas Day dinner.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1.25 pounds of crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 – 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese
  • 1 pound of Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 pound of Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 pound of Filo Dough (thawed under refrigeration)
  • Pastry brush

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Gently blend the eggs, Feta Cheese, Cream Cheese, Small Curd Cottage Cheese and Parmesan Cheese and set aside.

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Melt half of the butter. Lay out the filo dough on a cutting board.

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Cut the dough into four rows. I normally use a pizza cutter but a knife will do.

IMG_1887I stack the strips of filo dough into two rows.

IMG_1888If you have to walk away for any reason, cover the filo dough with a damp kitchen towel so it won’t dry out. Butter the bottom and sides of your pan. Butter the entire strip of cut filo dough. Add about a Tablespoon of Feta Cheese filling at the base of the strip of filo. Pull up the bottom right corner of Filo dough to the left side of the filo dough (about 1.5 inches) to form a triangle, fold straight up once, then fold again from the bottom left corner up to the right (about 1.5 inches). Continue, fold left, fold straight up, fold right until you reach the end. Take the entire triange and place into your pan and butter with the melted butter.

http://youtu.be/PeDI4UsdJNQ

My daughter and husband making tyropita.

My daughter and husband making tyropita.

You can place them in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown and crispy. Let cool and then place on a platter. If you need to cover them, cover lightly with plastic wrap leaving air gaps so tyropita doesn’t get soggy. Can serve hot or at room temperature. You can freeze the tyropita triangles before baking. I make double the recipe and always have extra to freeze. Just pull them out of the freezer, place into a pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes!

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Enjoy! They are always a big hit!

 

 

 

Baklava! Kαλή όρεξη

For every special occasion and holiday, our family makes the traditional Greek favorite dessert, Baklava. It is a bit time consuming but well worth it! Here’s Yia yia Theodora’s family recipe…

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Syrup:

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon)
  • 8 cloves (or 3/4 teaspoons of ground cloves)
  • 3/4 cups of honey
  • rind and juice of one lemon

Baklava:

  • 1.5 pounds of chopped walnuts
  • 1.5 pounds of fillo (or phyllo) dough (thawed overnight in refrigerator)
  • 1 pound of unsalted butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 5 Tablespoons of sugar
  • pastry brush
  • paper cupcake cups

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First, we make the syrup. Mix the sugar, water, cinnamon, cloves and lemon. Bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Then add the honey. Return to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. At first, the syrup will be thin but will thicken up after boiling, simmering and sitting to cool.

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Secondly, we mix the chopped walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. Melt the unsalted butter in a separate bowl.

Walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and sugar

Walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and sugar

Take the fillo (or phyllo) dough out of its package. Lay it on a cutting board. If you have to walk away for a bit, cover the filo dough with a slightly damp kitchen cloth to keep it moist. Otherwise, it will dry out very quickly.

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I cut my fillo (or phyllo) to fit the size of my pan. You can also just fold any excess fillo once you place it in your pan.

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Butter your pan. I use 9 inch x 13 inch glass pans. You can also use a larger foil pan.

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Place one layer of fillo into the pan, butter it, and repeat this step 5 more times (you should have a total of 6 buttered layers of fillo). Then spread a light layer of the nut mixture.

After spreading the nut mixture, place another 6 layers of buttered fillo into the pan. Spread a second layer of the nut mixture and follow with another 6 layers of buttered fillo.

Butter the final piece of fillo dough. Place the pan into the refrigerator for approximately 10 minutes to solidify the butter. Once the butter has solidified, remove from the refrigerator and cut through the hardened fillo, first by making 4 vertical cuts. Then, proceed to cut diagonally to form small diamond-shaped pieces.

Once you are done with cutting, bake at 300 degrees for 60 minutes. The Baklava should be a light golden brown. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot Baklava.

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http://youtu.be/IfBUr1M2mfM

Cool the Baklava at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator or freeze, tightly sealed. If you store it at room temperature, leave the Baklava loosely covered so it won’t loose its crispness.

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I place each individual piece in a paper cupcake cup, so it will be easy to handle and because the Baklava is sticky. Enjoy!  Καλά Χριστούγεννα!