Tyropita (pr. tee- row -pee-ta) (τυρóπιτα), from tyri (cheese) + pita = pie is a Greek pastry made with different cheese fillings.
A classic tyropita is made with layers of phyllo, preferably hand made but store bought is an easy but also delicious solution, which is layered and buttered or oiled. Buttered phyllo is richer in taste but if you prefer a healthier approach, try it with olive oil and it still makes a fantastic tyropita.
The filling can be made with any of the following Greek Cheese separately or a combination of one or more cheese: feta, anthotyro, myzithra, xinomyzithra, halloumi, graviera, kefalograviera, kaseri etc.
We Greeks love cheese and and we are considered to be the on the top of the list between European cheese consumers, amounting to 23 kilos per person per year and second come the French with 22 kilos, the Germans with 8 -10 kilos.
Unlike other Europeans we do not eat cheese as a dessert or as a meal supplement but for us it is a meal by itself. We eat it all the time, as it is, fried or grilled and cooked, in a variety of meals.
One of the delicacies we make is tyropita and I have made so many the past few months but have not posted them, so I am putting them all in one post. The smaller ones are caled “Tyropitakia” (small cheese pies).
Tyropita can be made in a large pan (ταψί [tap’si]) and cut into individual portions after baking or rolled in a spiral shape. There are so many kinds of phyllo we use to make tyropita the best being hand make phyllo or hand made kourou phyllo, sometimes we also use store bought phyllo kroustas (which is the one used for baklavas), choriatiko (village type) phyllo, kourou phyllo, puff pastry phyllo, or even kataifi, which is a shredded phyllo.
Here are a few variants some baked in a pan and others as individual tyropitas or appetizer-sized portions.
Tyropita with kataifi, feta and four other cheeses
Kataifi is a pastry made with a special form of shredded phyllo dough which looks like angel hair pasta but it is soft and can be handled and it does not crumble. Kataifi is usually used for making desserts which are filled with nuts and cinnamon and then bathed in a syrup. There are however a few savory recipes using kataifi and tyropita is one of them.
In this recipe it encloses cheeses which are wrapped in kataifi, soaked with milk and eggs and baked. The result is similar to a soufflé.
When packed, kataifi strands join together and become a mass, so before using it, the strands must be fluffed up.
- 1 packet (450 grams) kataifi dough
- 350 grams feta cheese (or mixed with a variety of other cheeses such as graviera, kasseri, halloumi or anthotyro (similar to ricotta). You can substitute with Edam, cheddar, Kerrygold, Milner, Gouda etc.
- 4 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 50 grams melted butter
- A pinch of black or white pepper
- Salt, optional as feta is salty
- Crumble feta and mix with other grated cheese of your preference. Nothing else is added in the cheeses.
- Fluff kataifi with your fingers by pulling the strands until they separate and it becomes light and fluffy.
- Lay it on your working surface or in your hand and put one heaped tablespoonful of cheese on one end, then roll the kataifi pastry into a cylinder, folding the sides as well, to enclose the filling.
- Make sure you fold the pastry a little tight at first so that the filling is securely enclosed. When you make it the size you like just pull and cut the strands.
- Put it in a 20 x 26 cm buttered baking dish or Pyrex.
- Whisk the eggs, add milk and pepper (and salt, depending on the cheese you use). Melt the butter and add it to the milk mixture.
- Pour the milk mixture on the kataifi with a spoon making sure that all the pieces are wet.
- Leave it for at least half an hour to absorb the milk.
- Preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF (170οC / 338oF fan) and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until golden on top.
Serve warm by cutting pieces with a spoon
Tyropita with xynomyzithra made with Puff Pastry
Xynomyzithra is a Cretan cheese, indigenous to Chania, Crete. In this recipe the pita is made with puff pastry.
- 1 store bought puff pastry (2 sheets)
- 1350 grams of xynomyzithra
- 6 eggs
- 4 – 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried mint (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Grease a 27 x 30 cm baking tin and place one sheet of puff pastry.
- Mix cheese with eggs. If you like you can add a tablespoon of dried mint for flavour and some black pepper. Spread the cheese and place next phyllo and brush with olive oil.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180 degrees Celsius, until golden brown.
Note: The amount of cheese and eggs I used was too much as my friends from Crete brought more xynomyzithra and I had no space in my deep freezer to store it.However, half the amount of cheese (and eggs) will make a normal tyropita.
You can substitute xynomyzithra with feta.
Here is a similar tyropita made with a mixture of two cheese and Puff Pastry
Tyropitaki (plural tyropitakia), is the diminutive word of tyropita. So any kind of tyropita made into individual servings, are called tyropitakia.
The puff pastry has two sheets of phyllo. Here I have divided each sheet into eight pieces and added a generous amount of cheese filling. Some were shaped rectangular and some into triangles. You can also make them square.
Tyropitakia (Rectangular or Triangles)
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
- 250 grams of feta or xynomyzithra
- 100 grams of anthotyro
- 3 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Mint (optional)
- Sesame seeds
- Cut each sheet of puff pastryo into eight pieces.
- Beat the eggs with a fork and reserve a small amount for the egg wash.
- Crumble the cheese with a fork and mix in the eggs, salt, pepper and mint.
- Add a spoonful of filling and shape either square or triangle. Press the edges with a fork to enclose the filling.
- Brush with the leftover egg and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown.
Note: If cheeses used are salty, taste before adding salt and adjust.
Tyropita with Feta and phyllo kroustas
This tyropita is made with phyllo kroustas, which is the one we use to make baklavas. The phyllos should be oiled well so that they do not stick with each other and form layers. Seven or eight phyllos are enough for the bottom layer and 5 – 6 on top, as some of those in the bottom layer will be covering the filling, thus making more layers.
- 500 grams of feta
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon mint (optional)
- About 1 cup olive oil.
- Start by oiling a 27 x 30 cm pan.
- Brush each phyllo with olive oil and start layering them in your pan. Put the phyllos in such a way so that some of it overhangs out of the pan.
- Add as many phyllos as you want by don’t forget to oil them.
- Add the filling and cover with those overhanging on top of the phyllo. Again, if they do not have oil, brush them again.
- Continue adding phyllos, this time the size of the pan.
- Finish adding a phyllo which tuck the edges inside the pan .
- Brush with olive oil
- Score the phyllos into portions and bake in a preheated oven to 180 C / 350 F, until golden brown.
Finally, here’s the simplest form of Tyropita you can make. Your guests will think that you slaved in the kitchen, but the truth it doesn’t take more than 10 – 15 minutes to prepare. All you need to do is brush the phyllo sheets and crumble the cheese! Make sure that you have good quality Greek feta and anthotyro and Greek Extra virgin olive oil, to get the best flavour.
You can make it with only feta if you like, but feta is always salty, so if you want your tyropita not to be salty, you can mix in some anthotyro, which has no salt at all and bring it up to your personal preference.
If you are serving it as part of a buffet, you can get at least 24 pieces. Served as a main dish with salad you can get 8 – 10 pieces.
If you think it’s too much for you, just fold in aluminum foil and deep freeze whatever is leftover. Thaw and reheat and it is just as good as the freshly baked one!
Tyropita with Phyllo Horiatiko, recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 25 – 30 minutes
- 1 packet horiatiko (village type) phyllo, which is thicker than normal phyllo and contains 6 sheets
- 500 grams Greek feta
- 200 grams anthotyro (low fat whey soft cheese)
- Pepper (at will)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Brush a baking tin (Dimensions 30 x 40 cm / 12 x 16 inches), with olive oil.
- Add a sheet of phyllo horizontally and brush it with olive oil. Add the second piece vertically and brush it with olive oil. Add the third one switching each time directions as each sheet is rectangular, in order to cover all the sides of the baking tin.
- Crumble feta and anthotyro to cover the surface. Sprinkle freshly grated black pepper.
- Continue adding the remaining three phyllos, brushing each one with olive oil. Using your brush tuck the sides of the phyllo in the baking tin. (If you like it to have a better border you can brush and fold all six sheets together). Brush the top with olive oil. Wet your hands with water and sprinkle on top. Score into portions, preferably before baking.
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F and bake until golden, for about 25 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
You can find many Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,