Easy Greek yogurt and feta cheese pie (Tempelopita)
You may have read/heard that here in Greece we love savory pies. That's not only true; Pita (it used to be typed as "Pitta") is to the Greeks what Pizza is to the Italians.
There are countless variation of savory pies! The most popular ones are the cheese pies (tiropita), the spinach pies (spanakopita), the ham-cheese pies (zampono-tiropita -what a word huh?), the zucchini pies (kolokithopita) and the ground beef pies (kimadopita).
In the last years, some versions of them, like the spanakopita are gradually starting to become also known abroad and are getting more and more popular.
Well, for us Greeks, the pies are part of a traditional breakfast. In the old days, Greeks farmers used to take a couple of slices with them to the fields, to enjoy them as breakfast or a snack after the first few hours of work. It was very common to also see workers in construction to stop and enjoy a couple of slices of pita (pie) before they continue with their work. Today, both white and blue collar workers continue this tasty tradition!
Today, most of the traditional fyllo/filo pies continue to exist in smaller cities and in the country. Here in Athens, we have mostly 'modernized' versions of those delicious pies, usually made with puff pastry instead of fyllo. They still they taste good, but not as good as the real thing. The best pies in Greece are usually made in the Central and the North Western areas (Central Greece, also called Roumeli, Thessaly and Epirus). Yes, we know, now the rest of Greece is cursing us, because every place in Greece makes pies, BUT, in our opinion, those are the best places of traditional pies. If you ever happen to be in any of those places for vacation, try to find a traditional bakery with delicious fyllo pies or ask for them in restaurants and taverns. You will not forever be “haunted” by their delicious taste!
But enough with our pita rumbling (we could go on forever). Let's talk about this specific pie. This, is a very easy and quick pie, which is made without any pastry. Yes, you don't need any fyllo or puff pastry to make it. It's the easiest and fastest Greek cheese pie you can make, and it's called Tempelopita or Tou Tempeli. What do these words mean? Well, Tempelopita means literally "Lazy pie" and Tou Tempeli means "Lazy's". You got the picture.
This is THE pie to make, in times you feel tired, or you don't have the time, or simply you want to make a no-fuss, mix-and-bake pie.
This cheese pie recipe, asks for simple ingredients: flour, yogurt, eggs, butter, and cheese. That's it. The process is straight forward: You mix all the ingredients, pour the mixture in a pan and bake. As simple as that. Less than 10 minutes of preparation, for a delicious cheese pie that is served as: a breakfast, a snack, an appetizer, and even a main dish together with some salad!
You can also keep this wrapped in film in the fridge and reheat the next day with the same delicious result, so it's also great for any backyard parties! In addition to that, you can make countless combinations with different cheese combinations (but always keeping the feta as the main cheese, as it defines the dish) or you can try adding cured meats or sausages as well! The possibilities are endless!
So let's see how to make this easy, delicious Greek pie!
- 200gr/7oz Greek yogurt
- 140gr/5oz (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 170gr/6oz margarine or soft butter, melted
- 400gr/14oz real (sheep) feta cheese, crumbled (coarsely)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 200gr/7oz grated Greek Graviera or any other yellow hard/semi-hard cheese you prefer*
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- pepper, NO salt is needed in this pie
* You can use Dubliner or Gruyere with great results but you can even use Swiss or Monterey Jack. Avoid Parmesan for this pie, as the feta is already salty.
Mix the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl .
Whisk in the milk (pic.1).
Add the yogurt, the eggs and the margarine (or butter) and stir well until they incorporate; initially use a large spoon and then use the whisk again. The mixture will be thick. Don't worry, if you keep stirring everything will combine.
Add the Graviera (or other yellow cheese) and stir lightly to incorporate (pic.2).
Add the feta cheese (pic.3) and fold into the mixture using a large spoon or spatula (pic.4). Don't break the feta to very small bits.
Add the pepper and the nutmeg.
Pour the mixture in a 21x18cm / 11x7in baking pan (or similar) (pic.5).
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius/350 Fahrenheit in the middle rack in preheated oven, until brown (about 45 minutes).
The pie is ready when inserted knife comes out clean (no pie sticks to it).
Once ready remove from the oven and let it cool before serving. Be extra careful because at this point the pie is extremely hot
Serve with an authentic Greek salad (Horiatiki) or a simple Greek lettuce salad (chopped Romain lettuce, spring onions -in small slices, finely chopped dill, dressed in olive oil and lemon/red wine vinegar).
1. Before pouring the mixture into the baking pan brush it with a little olive oil or butter to make the removal of the pieces easier. Don't use any salt in this recipe because feta is already salty.
2. A couple of pieces are ideal for breakfast or snack!