Greek tiropita might seem simple, yet its flavor is anything but. Between creamy ricotta, tangy feta, salty parmesan, and smoky gouda, layered between sheets of buttered phyllo dough this cheese pie has it all. My recipe makes a whole pan that serves 10, but you might want to make extra - it’ll be gone in no time flat!
Tiropita, or tyropita, is a very rich and savory Greek cheese pie that contains layer after layer of crispy phyllo dough and a decadent creamy filling. The flavor is so delicious and the texture so satisfying that it’s hard to describe. You just have to try it!
It’s very similar to Spanakopita, but simpler - it’s just cheese. Don’t let that fool you! Tiropita is still packed with tangy, salty, and rich flavors.
I’ve seen this dish served in a variety of ways, but I personally love making it into one big pie that is easy to serve and save.
I recommend having two tools on standby: a pastry brush and a sharp knife. The brush will make coating the pastry sheets infinitely easier, while a sharp knife is the best way to trim and serve.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Phyllo Pastry - These are very thin sheets of dough that crisp up when baked. They’re flaky and delicious, especially when buttered! We’ll use plenty of layers in our Greek cheese pie.
- Feta - Crumbly and tangy, this is milder than goat cheese (which could also be used as a substitute).
- Parmesan - You can also use kefalograviera, if you are able to find it. Parmesan has fruity notes and is savory overall, while kefalograviera has a more pronounced salty and nutty taste.
- Gouda - Aged gouda will grate easily, as well as have a saltier flavor.
- Ricotta - This fresh cheese is very milky and sweet. For similar flavor and consistency, you could substitute cottage cheese.
- Heavy Cream & Eggs - Thick, rich heavy cream and eggs will help to form the body of the filling when baked, keeping the cheesy layer together.
- Mint - Naturally cooling, sweet, and refreshing, these flavors are amplified once the leaves are chopped.
- Black Pepper - You can’t replace the taste of freshly cracked pepper. Its mild heat will stand out among the other mild and salty flavors here.
- Sesame Seeds - To top it all off, we’ll use sweet and nutty sesame seeds that will add a pleasant crunch.
HOW TO MAKE FILLING FOR GREEK CHEESE PIE
1. Combine the Cheeses. Add the crumbled feta, grated parmesan (or kefalograviera) and gouda, and ricotta cheeses to a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and pour into the mixture. Finally, add the heavy cream, and stir all ingredients together until well combined.
2. Season and Chill. Sprinkle the chopped mint and crack the fresh pepper overtop. Stir these seasonings into the filling, cover, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before constructing the tiropita.
HOW TO MAKE TIROPITA
1. Preheat. Set the oven to 350°F.
2. Create the Base. Prepare a baking tray by brushing butter on the bottom and sides. Lay one phyllo sheet on the bottom of the pan. Brush this sheet so that it sticks to the pan, then brush with butter once more. Repeat this step three times. You should have 4 total layers of phyllo as your base.
Add a Crumpled Layer. Butter another sheet and crumple into long sheets, placing it on top of the base layer. Repeat this step 4 times for a total of 5 crumpled sheets (see above).
3. Add the Filling. Take the chilled cheese mixture and spread it over the crumpled phyllo, smoothing with a spatula for an even coating.
4. Repeat the Second Layer. Follow up with another layer of crumpled phyllo. Again, each sheet should be buttered and crumpled for a total of 5 sheets.
5. Top the Pie. Finally, butter two more sheets and place them on top. Top with sesame seeds. You can trim any phyllo that is sticking out or fold it into another layer.
6. Bake. Place the tray into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Let the tyropita cool for at least 15 minutes so that it doesn’t collapse when serving.
Do you need to refrigerate phyllo dough?
Frozen sheets should be thawed in the refrigerator to prevent them from sticking together at the corners. When you are ready to use, allow the sheets to warm slightly on the counter to prevent cracking.
Can I use puff pastry instead of phyllo?
Though they seem similar, the two pastry doughs have different flavors and textures. Phyllo is very thin and crisp, while laminated puff pastry is more, well, puffy. It’s more workable and has a higher fat content. These two also have different thicknesses.
This is all to say that I wouldn’t swap them out. If you use puff pastry, then the tiropita will be thicker, chewier, and lack that crispiness that we’re going for.
What is the best way to reheat tyropita?
Stick it back in the oven! Refrigerate your leftovers in the same baking tray for ease, then warm in the oven when you’re ready for another round. Use the same temperature and bake for around 5-10 minutes.
Tiropita (Greek Cheese Pie)
- 16 sheets phyllo pastry
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled (7 ounces)
- 4 ounces Parmesan or kefalograviera grated
- 4 ounces Gouda cheese grated
- 4 ounces ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 2 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup butter melted
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Place frozen phyllo dough in refrigerator overnight to thaw.
- Crumble feta cheese into a large bowl and add the 3 other grated cheeses. Stir in the beaten eggs and heavy cream.
- Stir in the mint and season with freshly ground pepper. Cover and transfer mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a pastry brush, butter the bottom and sides of a 8x11 baking tray. Place one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the pan and brush the phyllo sheet to adhere to bottom and sides. Brush again with melted butter. Repeat with 3 more sheets of phyllo dough for a total of 4 sheets as a base on bottom.
- Next, butter a single sheet of phyllo, pick it up by the longest side and crumple it and place in the pan. Repeat the process until 5 crumpled sheets line the bottom.
- Carefully spread the feta cheese mixture on top and smooth with a spatula.
- Next, butter a single sheet of phyllo, pick it up by the longest side and crumple it and place in the pan. Repeat the process until 5 crumpled sheets top the filling.
- Butter another phyllo sheet and lay it on top then repeat with one more. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
- Trim the excess phyllo with sharp knife if desired, or fold the excess phyllo sheets over the mixture.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the phyllo is crisp and golden. Allow to cool down for 15 minutes before cutting/serving.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.