Tiropetes

Greek Cheese-Filled Filo Pastries

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    2 dozen

Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This is a favorite Greek and Turkish hors d’oeuvre or mezze. The Turks roll these into cigari, or cigar-shaped cylinders, and deep fry them. The Greeks fold them into little triangles, hence the name. The first time I ever tasted these was not in Europe but in a Turkish restaurant in New York about thirty years ago. What struck me then was the mixture of cheeses, some salty, some smooth and runny. It’s an effect I chose to recreate by adding Monterey Jack to the traditional recipe. The creamy melting Jack cheese balances the saltiness and dryness of the feta.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¾ pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound filo dough

Method

Combine the cheeses, eggs, parsley, dill, nutmeg, and pepper. Melt the butter. Cut the filo lengthwise into strips about 3 inches wide. Keep these covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap while you are working with the dough or it will dry up and fly around the room.

To assemble, brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Top it with another strip and brush it with butter. Then add a third strip and brush it as well. Place a rounded teaspoon of cheese filling about 2 inches from the top of the strips and fold the top corner of the dough over the filling and to the opposite edge so that it looks like a triangle. Continue folding the dough like a flag until the entire strip is folded. Place the completed pastry on a baking sheet lined with baker’s parchment. Repeat with the remaining filo and cheese filling.

At this point, the tiropetes can be stored in the refrigerator for a day. Cover loosely with foil or parchment but do not press down on the completed pastries or you may tear them. If you remember, it is best to bring these to room temperature before baking; if not, they will just take a little longer to bake.

About 20 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush the top of the tiropetes with melted butter, then bake the tiropetes on baking sheets until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Variation

To make Borek, bake the filling and filo dough as a single pastry. Cut the filo to fit a baking dish about 11 by 9 inches. Butter 10 sheets, one at a time, and place them in the pan. Add the cheese filling and spread evenly, then cover with another 10 sheets, buttering each one. Refrigerate until firm and the butter sets. Just before baking, cut into diamonds or squares with a very sharp knife. Bake at 350°F until golden, about 45 minutes. You may have to recut the pieces again after baking, but it is important to cut the pieces before baking so that you do not tear the baked filo and serve shabby pastries.