It’s weird how you sometimes get your recipes. I found this Greek Zucchini and Cheese pie at a Russian website dedicated to all things Greek. The recipe comes from a Cretan woman so that you could also try a traditional Greek pie at home. And getting the recipe from various sources and through other languages makes it even more exciting. So, yes, Greece again cause you can never get enough of the tasty and colourful Greek cuisine – this time I’m sharing with you a main (vegetarian) dish + a dessert idea for a Greek meal:
Two years ago – Moscow and Courgette Pies (it’s courgette season again!)
Kolokithoboureko or Greek Zucchini Cheese Pie translated and adapted from www.greek.ru will make a huge pie with chewy filling and a crunchy crust. The recipe comes from Crete, its author is Anzhelika Hatzimanolaki. I actually halved the recipe and lightened it up a bit – and still got a huge pie. See my remarks in italics.
For the filling:
- 1.5 kg zucchini
- 1 kg potatoes – I was too lazy to peel them and so I just omitted them!
- 1 kg Mizithra cheese (or low fat cottage cheese) – I used Adygea cheese
- 1 glass olive oil – I skipped even this… or rather – forgot!
- salt, pepper, mint – I put in lots of a Georgian seasoning called Khmeli-Suneli, plus salt, pepper, fresh basil and parsley
For the pastry:
- 0.5 kg flour
- 1 glass water
- 1 glass olive oil – this time I did not skip it!
- a shot of grape vodka - I used Greek kumquat liquor
- 1 tsp salt
- sesame seeds to decorate the top crust
Mix all the pastry ingredients together and knead them. Peel the potatoes (see? Just skip them and be free : ) and clean the zucchini, then slice them thinly. Grease an ovenproof dish. Roll half of the pastry out and place the filling in layers: potatoes, cheese with mint, zucchini, cheese again – until all the ingredients are out (here’s where I forgot to put in the olive oil – and in my opinion the pie did not lose anything from that!). Place the second half of the rolled out pastry on top of the filling, pinch the edges and sprinkle with sesame seeds (before sprinkling I brushed the crust with … oil : ) BEFORE placing the pie in the oven cut it in portions. Bake at 180-200′C until it’s getting browned (my pie took me about 35 min at 200 ‘C including 2 short periods at 150′C with the fan on).
Remarks: With all these zucchini their juices tend to gather at the bottom. I just removed the excess liquid and the pie was ok. I guess I was too enthusiastic while loading this pie with that Georgian spicy mix so the pie really got a taste! So just be careful in your quest of adding the taste to the zucchini : ) And yes, I did forget to pre-cut the pie in potions but remembered it just a couple of minutes after I put the dish in the oven, so I could just quickly cut the pie.
Result: I was somewhat in a hurry when baking the pie so the zucchini in the filling were really crunchy! I just guess that with the potatoes you will surely have to bake this pie for an hour or so. But with the zucchini which are now in their young and crunchy season, there’s no problem if the filling is a bit under-baked. The crusty pastry makes a nice combination with the juicy although chewy cheesy filling. All in all, μια χαρά!
What shall we make for the dessert? Something Greek, βέβαια!
Galatopita or Greek Milk Pie adapted from cookmegreek.blogspot.com will make an easy sweet, pudding-like dessert. Follow the link for the recipe.
The recipe is really easy although you will first have to heat a part of the milk and cook the mixture before baking it. This is when I realized my milk had gone off, oooops… It curdled but in the end nothing bad happened as it all just turned out right when baked. I baked my Galatopita a bit longer and I also used a square silicone pan.
Result: A melt-in-your-mouth pudding which is better than pudding. =)
This milk pie can be found in Greece under a variety of versions, I tried it with phillo pastry (then it’d be rather called Bougatsa) cut in pieces and dusted with lots of sugar+cinnamon. The author also suggests adding zest instead of vanilla, it’s up to you!
And καλή όρεξη to all of you!
More Greek recipes can be found under Greece here.