Sometimes it seems this blog of mine is either about travelling or Greek recipes… And just to prove the latter here’s yet another post on a tasty cheese pie from Greece! And a very successful recipe indeed. For which I luckily bought some very close-to-the-original version of Suluguni, the famous Georgian cheese. Here’s how its texture should be – you should be able to shred it into strands like this:
I can really sing hymns to Suluguni – and all great cheese in general… Talking about this particular one (which was made in Belarus actually, our stable provider of cheese here) I didn’t even grate it, I just separated the ‘strands’ and added them to the filling. Which also contained some grated zucchini / courgettes and spring onions. A spring-time recipe!
A year ago – Makowiec or Poppy Seed Roll for Easter
Two years ago – St Petersburg the Great Part 2
Three years ago – Sour Rye Bread to Make Your Life Sweeter
Almiri Kolokithopita or Savory Zucchini Cheese Pie (Αλμυρή κολοκυθόπιτα) translated and adapted from www.sintagespareas.gr will make a really tasty layered pie which holds its shape. I’m giving you the original recipe for a large Greek family 🙂 although I halved it when I baked my pie. See my remarks in italics.
For the pastry
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup oil – I guess here you’re just obliged to use Greek olive oil, which I did
- 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt – I used less to make the pastry more neutral
For the filling
- 1 kg zucchini / courgettes
- 2 spring onions or 1 onion
- 1 Tbs bread crumbs – I used semolina instead
- 250 g Feta – I used Suluguni which is completely NOT like Feta but…
- some anthotiro – used about same amount of Adygea cheese (soft white cheese, you can use cottage cheese or fresh cheese)
- 2 eggs – I used 1 egg + 1 egg white
- fresh fennel and dill – herbs are always good in a cheese pie but I added instead salt and mixed ground peppers
Rub the flour with the oil so that you get crumbs. Dissolve the salt in the water and add to the flour + oil mixture. (Before rolling out I put my pastry in the fridge for some time). Roll out 5 sheets of pastry (use some flour to roll out very thin sheets which you can also extend by holding each one and stretching gently. I rolled sheet by sheet, not all at once).
Grate / chop the onions and grate the zucchini / courgettes, then finely chop dill and fennel. Mix everything together and squeeze to drain the extra juices (I drained the grated zucchini before adding to the rest of the filling ingredients).
Beat the eggs and bread crumbs (I used semolina), and add to the mixture above.
Grease the baking sheet (I halved the recipe and used a sheet which is 1/2 of my oven rack + lined it with parchment paper). First place two sheets of the pastry onto the bottom (they do not have to be perfectly equal, you can always stretch the top one to the size of the bottom one) and spread half of the filling on top. Place one sheet over the filling and spread the rest of the filling on top. Finish by the last two pastry sheets. Brush with some oil and water (I rubbed the top with oil and then with some water – using my fingers. Then I also cut – but not through – the pie into slices which simplified the slicing later on. I also pinched the edges and lifted them a bit to create a ‘closed’ pie).
Bake at 180 ‘C (which in my case was about 40 minutes with temperature over 180 ‘C to quicken up the process + for some minutes I switched on the fan option and lowered the temp).
Remarks: I halved the recipe and still got a laaaarge pie. But don’t be mislead by the appearance – the pie is doomed to disappear very fast! I think adding grated zucchini (courgettes) is the best choice for a zucchini pie as they merge with the cheese perfectly! I would add more salt next time, I guess the zucchini just absorbed all the salt. But be careful with real Feta, it’s salty enough. Some remarks on the pastry – it’s easy to make, rather neutral in taste and if you roll it out accordingly, will contribute to the overall pastry-filling balance. It was a bit thick at the edges but it’s always is!
I liked how the Suluguni cheese popped up through the pre-cut pastry and melted:
Result: My father who’s completely not vegetarian was slicing away this pie in a very carnivorous manner 🙂 I mean, he liked it! I think that this extra dough layer in the middle + the amalgamated cheese and zucchinis make this pie a very tasty dish for your lunch or dinner! I can only imagine how much saltier and also flavourful it would be with the authentic Greek Feta…
The photos were made the next morning so what you see is tsssss a cold pie from the fridge 🙂 I bet there was none in the evening after I left home!