Tyropites (Greek Cheese Pies)

November 15, 2010 · 22 comments

in appetizers,greek,vegetarian

This week, you will undoubtedly be seeing Thanksgiving recipe upon Thanksgiving recipe posted on food blogs.  Well, here’s mine.

This may not be your traditional Thanksgiving fare, but it certainly is mine.  Tyropites, or cheese pies, are a staple at my family’s Thanksgiving (and, truly, every other big dinner).  There are plates upon plates of them for appetizers–which gets a little dangerous considering I always overeat (and I usually don’t let my overeating affect what I consume for dinner, sadly).  Tyropites are very similar to spanakopites (spinach pies) but they lack the spinach component.  Feta is the predominant cheese, and some only use feta while others use a combination of cheeses.  Dill is often added and sometimes parsley too (at least in my version).

Tyropites can be made with butter or olive oil.  Butter is quite tasty, but olive oil is a healthier option.   I love me some all-butter tyropites but I acquiesce and do a half-and-half combo, which is a great compromise.  I also use a teeny bit less fat than the standard 1 cup.

If you can’t find myzithra, there are plenty of things you can do.  One would be to just up the amount of feta a bit and forget the  myzithra altogether.  The other would be to use something like pecorino romano.  You could also use a softer cheese, like cream cheese or ricotta (or a combo of ricotta and romano for probably the closest in terms of both taste and texture).  Also, considering cheese is obviously the star of these beauties, you want to use a good cheese.  I would definitely recommend going to a local ethnic store to get good quality feta, over that not-so-good package of feta they sell with the other cheeses in the grocery store.

These freeze great, both baked & unbaked.

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