This savory cheese pie is made with puff pastry and filled with four different types of cheese and a black tea and cinnamon infused béchamel sauce.
This savory cheese pie is not your average Greek cheese pie. You see, I wanted to post a cheese pie recipe for a long time now, but I was wondering if it would serve any purpose since the internet is already filled with many great recipes for Greek cheese pies.
Well, this is a totally different and out of the ordinary savory cheese pie with four different types of cheese and a creamy, warm and comforting black tea and cinnamon infused béchamel sauce.
Sweet pies can vary from myzithropites which are myzithra hand pies (myzithra is a type of fresh cheese similar to ricotta) to pies filled with fruits (like this amazing apple crumble pie) or creams and custards like this incredibly easy and delicious Greek milk pie with phyllo (Bougatsa).
In general, savory cheese pies are divided into two big categories. Those made only with feta and those with a mixture of cheeses. I can’t say that I favor the one over the other, because when made right, both types are pretty good!
The crust can also differ depending on the household. In some cases it’s homemade, but it can also be store-bought puff pastry or phyllo, especially if time or convenience is of the essence. Here, I use puff pastry because there’s just something really magical in the way the creamy filling and the flaky crust combine.
My inspiration for this cheese pie recipe
Many times, either willingly or subconsciously, I draw my inspiration from childhood memories or things I’ve tasted throughout my life so far. So, the idea for this pie was born when I remembered a late night snack that my mom used to make when we were younger. This snack was nothing more by a large cup of black tea made with lots of cinnamon sticks and cloves, which was served with toasted bread and many pieces of Cretan gruyere. If you haven’t tried it then you must! The best way to enjoy this is to briefly soak the toasted bread in the hot tea and eat it along with a piece of cheese. The combination is divine 🙂
- You can choose your favorite types of yellow cheeses to use in this recipe, but try not to omit the feta because it provides the necessary tanginess which brings balance to the filling.
- This pie works well with puff pastry, homemade pie crust, or phyllo.
- Omitting the step where you infuse the milk for the béchamel sauce with the black tea and the cinnamon will give you a more traditional cheese pie.
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- 400 grams puff pastry, rolled into two rectangular sheets
- 2-3 tablespoons oil or butter for the pan
- For the bechamel sauce:
- 2 cups (500 grams) milk
- 3 black tea bags
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 5 tablespoons (50 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) olive oil or butter
- For the filling:
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup (50 grams) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 cup (100 grams) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (100 grams) shredded gruyere cheese
- 1 cup (100 grams) crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Some sesame seeds for the surface (optional)
- Make the scented milk for the bechamel: Heat the milk in a small pot until it almost starts to boil, remove from the heat and add the tea bags, the cinnamon sticks and the cloves. Let them steep for 3-5 minutes and discard the tea bags. Pass the milk through a sieve to catch the cinnamon sticks and the cloves.
- Make the béchamel sauce: Cook the flour with the oil in a large pot until it smells nutty and then remove from the heat. Add the warm milk gradually, whisking constantly to prevent it from forming any lumps. When all the milk is added, return to the stove and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 10x8 inch (27x20 cm) rectangular pan. You can also use a round pan 10 inches (26 cm) in diameter.
- Make the filling: Add all the cheese (except the feta) to the béchamel sauce. Add a generous pinch of salt, freshly grated pepper, the ground cinnamon and the ground nutmeg and stir to mix. Add the two eggs. Beat the third egg into a cup, add the half to the béchamel sauce and keep the other half for the egg wash.Mix well to combine. Wait for the filling to cool down and add the crumbled feta.
- Make the pie: Place the one sheet of puff pastry on the pan, making sure that it is large enough to overhang from the edges of the pan. Add the filling on top of the puff pastry and level it with a spatula. Top with the second sheet of puff pastry, fold the edges inwards and pinch them with your fingers to seal them.
- Beat the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons milk and brush the surface of the pie. Score the surface with a sharp knife and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake at the lower rack of your oven for 50 minutes (if you notice it starts to brown quickly cover with a piece of foil). Let it cool for at least 40 minutes before serving.
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