The aroma of pastry in the oven stimulates significant memories for Eirini; those of her grandmother. Growing up in the same house as her grandmother, Eirini spent much time watching her make bread and pastries for the family. As a young adult, Eirini day-dreamed of having a family of her own, who would arrive home to the smell of baked goods and sweets that she had made.
Fast-forward to present, Eirini’s children benefit from their great-grandmother’s love of baking; Using a hand-made wooden board and rolling pin set, created by a friend, Eirini regularly prepares pastries for her family. The board, named a syni in Greek, is raised and large enough to assist with lengthy periods of rolling large pastries.
On this occasion, Eirini showed us how to make cheese pies: Tiropites and Katines. Both pastries are made from the same mixture but are moulded into different shapes: Tiropites are folded in half and the Katines are baked in a tin which allows the visibility of the cheese. In Greece, it is common to hear the word ‘Katines’ used to refer to people who talk a lot; as their mouth is always open – just like the form of the pastry.
Watch this short video detailing the process in under 1.5 minutes:
Tiropites – Cheese Pies (made 37 pieces)
1.5 kg flour
500ml warm milk
200ml olive oil
1.5 kg of Feta
500g Manouri cheese
500g Anthotino cheese
Line a metal tray with baking paper
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients; flour, salt, masticha
In a separate bowl cream the margarine with fingers, until light yellow/white (Eirini prefers to use her hands rather than a mixer, as the warmth from her fingers melts the butter more efficiently.)
To the margarine mixture, add the olive oil, milk and egg. Mix again with hands until combined
Introduce one ladle at a time of the dry mixture, kneading the dough after each spoonful
At this stage, if the dough starts to become dry, add a little bit of water for extra moisture
Once the dough is combined and kneaded, allow it to rest for 5 minutes
Preheat the oven at 130’c
Take a small handful of dough, fashion into a ball with your hands and smooth into an oval shape with a rolling pin
Put two tablespoons of cheese mixture into the middle of the dough, wet your fingertips with a little bit of water to help seal the dough and tap them along the bottom half of the dough.
Fold in half, trim the edge of the sealed dough with a pastry cutter and press the edges down with your fingertips. Decorate the edges if you prefer.
Top with sesame seeds or cinnamon
Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden at 170’c
Allow to cool before serving.