My lovely friend and housemate Irini made these cheese pies (τυροπιτάκια (tiropitakia) in Greek, she tells me) the other day and they were so good I had to ask her for the recipe. The semolina brings a comforting but not overpowering starchiness that complements the sharpness of the feta perfectly, and all of this wrapped in irresistible buttered filo.
I watched Irini make the pies using her mum’s recipe and then she jotted me down the basics of it; here is an account of how I recreated them – I hope I’ve got it right! Many many thanks to Irini and her mum – these are delicious.
Irini’s mum’s feta cheese pies
Makes about 10 triangular pies.
1 mugful of milk
Half a mugful of semolina
1 tbsp of butter (plus extra, melted, for glazing and greasing)
Salt to taste
100g (half a supermarket pack) of feta cheese
5 sheets filo pastry
Preheat the oven to 200° C/180°C (fan). Line 2 trays with baking parchment and grease.
Mix the milk with the semolina and butter and salt in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture has thickened, lower the heat right down and add the egg, mixing in well. Then crumble in the block of feta and stir through before checking and adjusting the seasoning. The mixture should be of a spoonable consistency.
Now make the triangular pies. Cut each sheet of pastry in half length-wise to produce long, thin strips. Place a generous spoonful (but not too generous, or else they’ll overflow like mine!) of the filling onto the end of one of the pastry strips and fold the short bottom edge of the strip up over it through 90°, so that it lines up with the left-hand long edge of the strip. Now fold this triangle containing the filling straight upwards towards the top of the strip, so that the bottom edge is straight again. Then fold that bottom edge through 90° again, this time to the right, so that it meets the right-hand long edge of the strip. Finally, fold straight upwards again. Repeat this process (90°left, up, 90° right, up…) until you have reached the end of the pastry strip. Place on one of the lined baking trays with the loose end of the strip facing downwards to hold it in place. Repeat the process until all the filling is used up and then glaze the pies with melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.