Greek Cheese Appetizers – Tiropites – Recipe

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The recipe was supposed to make about 60 of these.  You’re looking at my total yield.  However there is salvation.

They looked so good in the picture.  Little triangles of filo dough stuffed with some sort of easy to make cheese mixture inviting us to sit back and take a bite.  After the success using filo dough with the spanakopita, how much more difficult could this be?  If a picture is worth a thousand words, the thousand words from the  picture  I was looking at wasn’t enough to tell the whole story.  But there is a plan B.  Plan B will get us back to that point where we can sit down, relax, and just take a bite.

The filling

8 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled

8 ounces Italian ricotta cheese

2 eggs slightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 pound filo dough, this is about 20+ sheets

olive oil

Lightly beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add the feta and ricotta cheeses, salt and  pepper.  Mix well until there are  no large lumps of feta.  Some really small lumps are unavoidable.

The second thousand words

Here’s the tricky part.  You have to be Greek to make triangles.  At least I’m convinced of that.  If you’re not Greek, but very good with arts and craft kinds of things, you might be okay.  But if you fail, it will profoundly affect the rest of your day. 

To make your day go smoothly, let me suggest, at least for the first time,  make these into rolls instead of triangles.  The detailed, and there’s not much detail, instructions for making rolls are in the spanakopita recipe.  Just follow this link to there.  Here’s the brief roll process.

To make rolls (plan B)

Lay a single full sheet of filo dough on your counter or a board.  Brush the top with olive oil.  Lay a second sheet on top of the first.  Brush that with oil.  Stop when you get five sheets layered up.   Keep the remaining filo dough covered with some plastic wrap while you’re laying up the sheets.

Spread about 1/4 of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the long edge of the sheet.  Roll the filo over the cheese mixture and continue rolling until all the filo is used up.  Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet seam side down.  Brush the top with oil.  Do the same for the other filo sheets.  There are about 20 sheets in a half pound of filo dough.  You should end up with 4 rolls.

See the spanakopita recipe for pictures and more detail on how to make the rolls.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  Let cool.  When you’re ready to serve, slice the rolls into 1 inch long pieces. 

To ruin your day

If you’re inclined to make these into triangles, here’s what worked best for me.  Lay a single sheet of filo dough on a board.  Cut the sheet into thirds with a knife the long way.  Brush the strips with oil.  Take a single strip.  On the short side of the strip, place about a teaspoon of filling 2 inches up from the short edge.  Take the lower right hand corner of the strip and fold diagonally over the filling until the right hand corner touches the left side of the filo strip.  At this point, if you don’t see something that resembles a triangle, give up and make the rolls.  Then continue folding the triangle up and over as if folding a flag.  If you don’t know how to fold a flag, find a Boy Scout and ask them.  I did some quick web research and didn’t find any good help in describing the folding process. 

Before you start folding the filo, try some practice.  Cut some paper into 3 inch by 12 inch strips and practice folding that into triangles first.  Always remember, there is a plan B.

Once you finish the folding process, place whatever shape you end up with on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Brush oil on the top of the shape.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  No matter how they look, most likely, they’ll still taste good.  That’s the second plan B.  Just close your eyes and eat.

Salvation

If you start out to ruin your day, that is start out making the triangles, and you realize along the way there’s no Greek DNA material in your body, you can always switch over to making the rolls with whatever is left of the filling and the filo.  That, in fact, is what I did.  And don’t trash those triangles gone bad.  No matter how bad they look, they’ll most likely bake up just fine.

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