Today is a day we celebrate in Greece by cooking or baking anything with cheese and so it is called Tyrini (tyri = cheese) and as it is always on a Sunday we call it Cheesy Sunday. Just like carnival is celebrated by eating all the meat before lent (carne levare meaning remove all meat) the last day before lent we have to clean out all the dairy products so as from tomorrow and for forty nine days according to Orthodox religion we have to abstain from eating meat and dairy products.
In Cyprus some of the dishes we usually prepare on Tyrini are ravioles and flaounes.
I have written about these two dishes in the past but as I prepared them as well today, I think it was worth mentioning them as they were written when I started blogging and I am sure most of my blogger friends did not have the chance to see them. We all love ravioles in my family and as the children were asking me to make them, there was no way I would not make them today for them.
The only thing I changed from the traditional recipe was to give them a different shape. I cut round circles with a mold, added the cheese filling in the middle and folded it to form a half moon. Then I joined the two ends and then the one on top. All the rest was the same.
Yesterday I visited a Greek site called Cook the Book which is written by a friend of mine who lives in Agrinio. I saw that she had made trahanopita, a pie which is a bit unusual even for us in Greece. Its main ingredient is trahanas, which is cracked wheat boiled with milk and it is then dried and preserved and used mainly to make trahanas soup or savory pies. I had heard of trahanopita on cooking shows but have never eaten it before so I thought it would be both appropriate for today as the other ingredient used is cheese as well as for an event called Live Strong with a taste of yellow.
Live Strong with a taste of yellow, 2008 , hosted by Barbara, of winosandfoodies.com, is an event about sharing cancer experiences and telling stories of their support for their friends or family experiencing cancer.
This year a second element has been added to this event which is a photo competition. So, if you haven’t heard of it yet you still have a lot of time to prepare something for this event.
I am sure that each and every one of you have suffered the loss of a relative or someone close to you who have been hit by this illness. Personally, my father-in-law and brother-in-law died of cancer.
The food we have to prepare for this event must be yellow and my main recipe as well as the other ones I have prepared today are all yellow.
I have not changed anything from my friend’s recipe except the trahanas I used was Cypriot and this might have changed the taste a bit. I only had 200 grams of feta, so I added some halloumi cheese as well and I did not use as much of butter or margarine as stated in the recipe but merely used 1 teaspoon of butter in the cream and for greasing the tin. However, this savory pie was delicious.
If you would like to make this pie, I am sure you can find trahanas (ask for sour trahanas) at stores selling Greek or Cypriot Products.
This pita can be made like tyropita by using either home made phyllo or store bought. In each case, each phyllo 5 – 6 layers, should be brushed with butter, then the filling is added and another layer of 4 – 5 buttered phyllos and baked until golden brown.
Trahanopita, Greek Traditional Pie
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
- 3 cups of sweet or sour trahanas (I used sour)
- 1 1/2 litres of full fat milk
- 3 eggs
- 250 gr. feta cheese
- 100 grams of butter or margarine
- olive oil
- bread crumbs
- Boil milk on high heat and add the trahanas. Lower heat and stir for about 10 minutes until it becomes creamy.
- Add butter and remove from heat to cool down.
- Preheat oven at 200 degrees Centigrade (do not use air) .
- Beat eggs and add to mixture together with crumbled feta. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Grease a big baking tin 40 x 33 cm and sprinkle the bread crumbs. Empty mixture and sprinkle about a spoonful of olive oil over the mixture. (As my friend states, the pie must be very thin about 2 cm high and that makes it even better).
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C for about one hour or until golden brown on top.