In Greek: σαρικόπιτα, pronounced sah-ree-KOH-pee-tah
Shaped like little turbans, these sharp-tasting cheese pies are a specialty on the island of Crete. They are best made with homemade phyllo dough rolled out to the thickness of 2-3 pieces of copier paper (or setting number 6 on a pasta machine), but in a pinch, can be made with prepared puff pastry. Leave off the sugar dusting on top for those with diabetes – there’s no sugar in the pita ingredients.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound of homemade phyllo
- 1 1/2 cups of aged (“sour”) myzithra cheese, finely crumbled
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of fresh mint, finely chopped
- olive oil for frying
- confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the cheese, egg, and mint with a fork, mixing until well blended. It will be fairly dry mixture.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the phyllo using a pasta machine (setting 6) or a rolling pin to the thickness of 2-3 sheets of copier paper. Sprinkle the dough with flour to keep it dry.
Cut dough into strips 5 inches wide by 12 inches long.
Place several teaspoons of the cheese mixture down the center of the dough lengthwise, stopping about 3/4 inch from the ends. Fold the dough over the cheese, one side at a time, and gently form the strip into a circle while keeping it flat on the work surface. Dab a little water on the top of one end and the underside of the other end and press together gently to join.
Fry over medium heat in about 1/4 inch of preheated oil, until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper toweling and serve (optionally) dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The Cheese: Hard aged myzithra cheese is available in many markets, and if shopping at a Greek market, the cheese will probably be called xynomyzithra (“sour” myzithra, to differentiate from the soft “sweet” version).
- The recipe may not use all the phyllo. Store unused phyllo in the refrigerator in airtight wrapping. It stores well for about a week.