Almost everyone loves pastry. Savory or sweet, made with puff pastry or phyllo dough, it is never enough of these. Homemade savory pies are perfect for breakfast, instead of buying pastries at the bakery. For lunch or dinner, you can serve phyllo-based pastries as an appetizer or side dish. If you are not so hungry or you want to skip meat for lunch, you can have a piece of phyllo pastry and a salad. There are many recipes with phyllo dough, especially when you take into account various ingredients you can put in it. The most popular phyllo dough pastries are those with cheese, but you can always add some spinach or similar greens to it.
The steps for making savory phyllo dough are pretty much the same, regardless of the ingredients you choose. Here I will show you three different recipes with phyllo dough, featuring cheese only, but you can also add spinach together with cheese, or instead of cheese you can put mushrooms or potatoes. Sweet phyllo-based pastries have different ingredients, so I will share them with you in one of my next articles.
The easiest phyllo dough recipe with cottage cheese
This recipe is perfect for those in a hurry or those who are beginners at making phyllo dough pastry. I promise, you don’t need any skills at folding the phyllo sheets, it’s very easy and very delicious.
The choice of cheese– originally you should use cottage cheese or any similar cheese, but you can also use feta. I sometimes combine feta and cottage cheese. Any white cheese of your choice will go well. If the cheese is too hard and you cannot crumble it well, you can add extra yogurt than recommended here or use a mixer.
How to use phyllo dough? You will need a pack of fresh phyllo sheets which is 500 gr. If you can find only frozen phyllo dough, leave it overnight in the fridge to defrost naturally. Take 2 phyllo sheets and put them aside, you will need them later. All other phyllo sheets should be teared apart into small or medium pieces. So, it’s like you rip off some papers into pieces. Mix these ripped pieces of phyllo sheets with all the ingredients from the list:
- 600 gr cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- One cup of olive oil
- 1 pack of baking powder
- One cup of yoghurt (or more if the mixture is too dry, it depends on the cheese mostly)
The final steps– Brush a large baking pan with some oil and put one of those 2 phyllo sheets you saved. The edges of the sheet should go up so you can pour the mixture in it (the mixture of the ripped phyllo sheets and the ingredients above). Now put down the edges of that sheet so they cover the mixture. Use the second phyllo sheet you saved to cover the mixture and fold its edges inside, so they go under the bottom sheet. Brush some olive oil and milk on the cover sheet and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes and then 1 more hour at 175 degrees.
Additional tips– once the phyllo pastry is baked you can put it on the kitchen counter to cool off for at least 15 minutes or more. If you don’t like your pastry to be too crispy, cover it with a plastic bag and a kitchen cloth. As for the choice of baking pan, I use round baking pan (30cm).
The easiest recipe for phyllo dough pastry with cottage cheese
- 500 gr fresh phyllo dough
- 600 gr cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup olive oil (and some more for brushing the top phyllo sheet)
- 1 pack baking powder
- 1 cup yoghurt
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (or more)
- 3 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Brush the baking pan and put one phyllo sheet on it, leaving the edges up. Save one more phyllo sheet for later, you will need it to cover the filling.
- Tear apart all other phyllo sheets. Whisk cottage cheese with eggs, oil, baking powder and yoghurt. You can also add a pinch of salt.
- In the bowl with egg and cheese filling, add the phyllo sheets you tore apart into smaller pieces. Stir nicely so all the sheets are soaked evenly. If the mixture is too dry, add more yoghurt.
- Pour the mixture on the baking pan and spread it evenly. Put down the edges of the bottom sheet so they cover the mixture. Use the second phyllo sheet you saved to cover the mixture and fold its edges inside, so they go under the bottom sheet.
- Brush some olive oil and milk on the cover sheet and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes and then 1 more hour at 175 degrees.
Tiropita – phyllo dough recipe with cheese, Greek way
This is a traditional Greek recipe for tiropita (cheese pie with phyllo dough). You will see that the ingredients are pretty much the same for all these three recipes with phyllo dough, and the main difference is in the way you use that dough. Tiropita is a level 2 of difficulty recipe, compared to the first one, and you will need a bit more time for layering the sheets.
How to use phyllo sheets? For this recipe you will need 12 phyllo sheets or 10 if they are too thick. Six of them will go at the bottom and 6 at the top. Between every phyllo sheet you need to put some olive oil or butter. So, brush the baking pan, put one phyllo sheet and brush it with olive oil, then put another and so on. When you put all 6 phyllo sheets, it is the time to put the cheese and egg mixture. After that, you just need to repeat everything, and brush additional 6 phyllo sheets at the top.
Preparing the filling for tiropita– a traditional Greek tiropita requires 3 different types of cheese: feta cheese, hard cheeses like Gouda or Emmental, and cottage cheese or any white and soft cheese. Instead of yoghurt which I used in the recipe above, here you can put some milk cream to help you soften up the cheese mixture. Of course, tiropita also requires eggs like most of these phyllo dough pastries.
- 200gr feta cheese
- 150gr hard cheese like Gouda, Parmesan, Emmental
- 150 gr cottage cheese, ricotta or any white soft cheese
- 150ml of cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- Some pepper
Baking tiropita- For tiropita, you should use a square baking pan. It should be as big as the size of the phyllo sheet. I have already explained above how to use phyllo sheets and when to put the filling. When you cover the tiropita with the last phyllo sheet, brush it and put some sesame seeds. You can also sprinkle some water and make a few cuts on the top phyllo sheet. Bake tiropita at 180 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes. It should be golden and crispy. Read the additional tips from the firs recipe if you don’t like the pastry to be too crispy.
Tiropita – phyllo dough recipe with cheese, Greek way
- 12 phyllo dough sheets
- 200 gr feta cheese
- 150 gr hard cheese like Gouda or Emmental (grated)
- 150 gr cottage cheese (or ricotta)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pepper
- olive oil or butter
- 3 spoons sesame seeds
- Brush the baking pan, put one phyllo sheet and brush it with olive oil,
then put another and repeat with 6 phyllo sheets.
- Prepare the filling for tiropita. In a bowl, mix together all three types of cheeses, cream cheese, some peper and eggs.
- Put the egg and cheese mixture on the sheets and spread it evenly. Repeat the process by adding 6 more phyllo sheets on top and brushing each one with melted butter or oil.
- Brush the last phyllo sheet with some oil and water, and spinkle sesame seeds. Bake tiropita at 180 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes. It should be golden and crispy.
The hardest of these three recipes with phyllo dough
After making using phyllo dough pastries you may want to go to the next level and try to make more demanding phyllo pastries. This recipe requires more time than the previous two but as a result you will get smaller separate pieces of pastry. Instead of layering phyllo sheets one on another, two phyllo sheets will be a separate piece of pastry.
This way of making phyllo dough pastry is good if:
- you are inviting guests over,
- you want to freeze some pastry or
- take it away with you on a road trip.
How to use phyllo sheets? You need to pair two phyllo sheets and to treat every pair separately. First, brush one phyllo sheet with some olive oil or melted butter. Then put the second phyllo sheet and spread the 3 or 4 spoons of the filling all over the sheet. If you put too much filling the sheet will tear apart. If you put less filling, the pastry won’t be cheesy enough.Try to find the middle between those two, but it is usually about 3 spoons.
Folding the phyllo sheets– Once you put the filling on the sheet you need to start folding the sheet like crepes or rolls, from one side to the other. Now fold that roll in a shape of snail.Repeat this for all phyllo sheets you have. If you run out of filling, you can make additional or keep the other phyllo sheets in the fridge. Put these folded snails on a baking pan which you previously brushed with some oil.
Final steps– When you finish folding and filling all the phyllo sheets, brush the pastries with some oil, milk and egg yolk. Sprinkle some sea salt and sesame seeds and bake uncovered at 200 degrees Celsius. When you see the pastry is golden, reduce the heat to 170 degrees, cover the pastry with aluminium foil and bake another 12 minutes.
Ingredients for the filling – The filling is similar to previous two recipes: 500 gr of phyllo sheets, 500 gr cottage cheese, 3 eggs, oil. You will also need some milk, 1 or 2 egg yolks, sesame seeds to brush the pastry.
Phyllo Dough Recipe with Cheese
- 500 gr phyllo dough
- 10 tbsp olive oil or melted butter (or more)
- 500 gr cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 spoons milk
- sesame seeds
- Whisk cottage cheese with eggs and add a drizzle of olive oil to the filling becomes more creamy. If you want to avoid oil for the filling add some yoghurt or water. The mixture should be thick but creamy.
- Brush one phyllo sheet with some olive oil or melted butter. Then put the second phyllo sheet and spread the 3 or 4 spoons of the filling all over the sheet.
- Once you put the filling on the sheet you need to start folding the sheet like crepes or rolls, from one side to the other. Now fold that roll in a shape of snail. Repeat this for all phyllo sheets you have.
- When you finish folding and filling all the phyllo sheets, brush the pastries with some oil, milk and egg yolk. Sprinkle some sea salt and sesame seeds and bake uncovered at 200 degrees Celsius. When you see the pastry is golden, reduce the heat to 170 degrees, cover the pastry with aluminium foil and bake another 12 minutes.
Which recipe would you try?
As you can see, all these recipes with phyllo dough have similar filling and it can only differ in the choice of cheese. But the thing is, you can play with the filling ingredients and mix different cheeses. If you don’t like cottage cheese you can always choose some other cheese or put feta and some yoghurt or cream cheese. The most important thing is to learn how to fold the phyllo sheets and depending on your time, you can always choose the most convenient recipe.