Recipe: Flaky & Savory Cheese Pie

By geostima | RecipeKings | 23 May 2019


Savory pies are a great addition to almost any occasion since they can be prepared as a main meal, or a starter/ender depending on how they are prepared and on which ingredients are used. This makes them an insanely dynamic choice to show off your culinary creativity! 

Lets begin with one of my all-time favorites: The Flaky & Savory Cheese Pie.

This lovely pie originated in the Balkans and became a traditional (and very popular) food dish throughout the region. It is primarily made using cottage cheese and eggs with layered phyllo pastry dough and then baked in the oven.

So without further ado... Lets get cooking!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1x package filo (phyllo) dough
  • 2x cups (2/3 pound) feta cheese, (preferably) crumbled - although other cottage/feta cheeses are usable.
  • 1x cup sour cream
  • 1x cup ricotta (optional)
  • 3x tablespoons of sparkling mineral water (preferable but optional)
  • 2x eggs, separated
  • Some olive oil for greasing pan (you may also use other fine oils suitable for baking)
  • Some foil


First, prep a baking pan / tray - either glass, metal (aluminum, stainless steel) or silicone is fine for the most part and should not have a detrimental effect on your final result, however keep in mind that metal bakeware is the ultimate heat conductor; metal baking trays heat up and cool down quicker than glass, which makes them ideal for pies.

The first step is to generously grease the baking tray with your chosen oil and then gently press a sheet of phyllo into the baking tray, letting the rest hang over the edges. The size and shape of your baking tray may not coincide with the size of your phyllo sheets, but this wont be problematic - in fact its even better. Simply leave any loose phyllo which hangs outside the tray in order to fold it back over your tray after the next steps.

You may also trim the overhang all around the edges if you wish to have a more consistent shape - however the shape of the pie isn't the important thing - its the taste that matters!

Repeat the above process with another sheet, placed crossways from the previous one and keep alternating the positions. Repeat this for a total of three or four or five or six sheets - you may vary this in order to make your pie's base (bottom) thicker and that all affects the flavor strength - of course this is something you need to figure out and decide on your own. How much extra crisp would you like with that specific type feta cheese you are using?

Once you have a bottom base crust layer using the few layered stacks of phyllo sheets which are lightly greased in your baking tray, its time to add some of that cheese and egg mixture.

Step one would be to stir together the egg yolks (keep your egg whites separated - don't throw them away), feta, sour cream and optional ricotta. If your mixture is stiff, you should thin it a little with some full fat milk. Stir in the mineral water last if you wish to add that extra bit of puffiness to your final result.

Now you beat those left-over egg whites until they are stiff and then add them also into the cheesy mixture you prepared.

Here's a rough example of what this cheesy mixture could end up looking like:

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Not very enticing for the moment, but keep your head held high and carry onwards!

Here's where the fun begins.

Take a sheet of phyllo and dunk it into the mixture - submerging and/or simply mashing it into the mixture to get as much of it into the cheesy mixture as possible. Once the sheet is all wet and soggy, gently crumple it using your hand (one hand should be enough) and place it onto the baking tray where you've already created your initial base layer of phyllo which you created in the previous step. Repeat until all the cheese mixture filling is used. You'll want to keep one hand clean for picking up the filo sheets, or have a friend pass you the sheets, and use the other hand for doing the dunking and placing on the baking tray. If you are using both hands to handle the dunking and mixture mashing, then you will likely make a huge mess in your kitchen. So keep it smart and simple.

Once you have repeated this dunking and covered your tray in crumpled sheets of wet and soggy phyllo your done with the initial preparation and its time to bake. If you have leftover filling and no more sheets, then add more filling inbetween your crumpled sheets.

This checkpoint deserves a visual example so here is one. (Dont worry if yours doesnt look exactly the same)

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Cover your tray with some foil and throw it into your oven and bake at 400°F  (around 200°C) for about 25-30 minutes.

You will know you are done when the top of your pie is looking browned. The bottom should also appear crunchy and golden brown (a great contradictory reason to use a clear glass casserole container).

In the final minutes, you can also remove the foil to help along the top browning, and which is a great tactic to add that extra bit of crispiness to your final product.

Don't worry about overcooking, as long as nothing's burning or turned black you should be fine.

After it's cooled a bit, turn it upside-down onto a platter, cut it up in your chosen serving size and shape and serve when warm, or completely cooled. Also tastes great chilled.

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There you have it. A lovely addition to your recipe book! This one not only tastes divine, but there is a humongous amount of legroom for experimentation. Feel free to try to be a smartass by adding mince, thin chicken strips, ham/salami, diced tomato and onions into your cheese mixture to get some outrageously fantastic variations. Never be afraid to think outside the box!

Bon appetit!

 

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geostima
geostima

Epic high-fantasy is my thing. I like cookies.


RecipeKings
RecipeKings

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