Cretan cheese pie recipe (mizithropites)
For the dough:
1 Kg of all-purpose flour
½ glass of Cretan extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of Raki or fresh lemon juice
2 glasses of water (approximately)
For the Filling:
1 kg Cretan Mizithra (sour) goat cheese
- In a bowl mix together the flour, the olive oil, the raki (or lemon juice), the salt and gradually add the water kneading with your hands until you make a very soft, velvety, elastic dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for about 2-3 hours.
- Using a fork press against the mizithra cheese to dissolve any crumbs. A big piece of mizithra might break up the dough when rolling it.
- When the dough and the mizithra cheese are ready to use, we drizzle a small amount of flour on our working surface and we start making mizithropites.
- Take equal amounts of mizithra cheese and dough and shape them into balls (5-6 cm diameter). Press the dough ball (rotating it circularly) to make it round and plain. In the middle of it place the mizithra ball and start embracing the mizithra with the dough. At the end we should have formed a dough ball including a mizithra ball in the center.
- Using a rolling pin or just your fingers, lightly knead the mizithra/dough ball (from the center to the edge, rotating it circularly) into a bigger round (you can use flour if it gets sticky). We want to make round, thin and smooth pies (15-17 cm diameter).
- Fry the pies into a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil under medium heat. One pie at the time (you will need to add more olive oil when it’s all absorbed), a few minutes each side of the pie.
- You can eat them (hot or cold) as a starter or as a desert if you pour some honey on top of them!
- To make velvety dough, use half of the olive oil before you start kneading and the rest at the end.
- Don’t leave the dough or the pies (until you fry them) exposed because they dry out easily. Keep them covered with a towel during the whole procedure.
- You can store them in the freezer (for up to three months or more), raw, one on top of the other using a greaseproof paper among them. When you want to fry them, you can do it immediately without having to defrost them (although they absorb more olive oil that way).
- Nothing is quite as good as the originals but if you can’t find mizithra cheese, you could use feta cheese instead. It should be desalted and dried though (we don’t want too much moist).