Tyropita, tiropita or τυρόπιτα, (pronounced ti-RO-pee-ta) means cheese from tyri and pie from pita.
What is the origin of the word tyropita?
The word tyropita has a very wide meaning and it can be anything with cheese, made with homemade phyllo, store bought phyllo pastry, puff pastry, kourou pastry, kataifi pastry, or with bread dough and cheese in it, which we make during Easter, a savory bread (cake) with eggs or even a sweet pastry.
What cheese to use in tyropita?
The variety of cheeses you can use are endless: halloumi, Paphitiko cheese, feta, graviera, kefalotyri, anthotyros, myzithra. The list is endless… A mixture of the above cheeses can be combined or feel free to even add some cheese from other countries as well.
Can you think of a better way to start your breakfast? I am sure you can, but here’s a kind of breakfast we have in Cyprus. It’s a halloumi bread or cake, with lots and lots and lots and lots of mint in it. When you think you’ve added enough mint, just add some more.
The cheese we usually use is aged, homemade halloumi but of course you can use any kind of halloumi, provided you can grate it. I am not saying that the halloumi we get in the supermarkets is not good but if you have tasted homemade halloumi, which is quite common in Cyprus, made with ewe and goat milk, only then you will know the difference.
When halloumi is made fresh, it is soft, creamy and rubbery in texture and mildly salty and minty in taste. It is preserved in brine, so that as it ages it becomes harder and saltier, with a much robust texture, which makes it easier to grate and the taste gets much better as it ages.
This is the perfect cheese to make the Cypriot tyropita or halloumopita
Are you having some friends over for a cup of coffee or a cup of tea? This tyropita is easy to make and you will surely please your guests. No stand mixer is required, you just mix everything together and bake.
Now I know some of you can’t find halloumi but don’t worry. Believe me, back in 2007, it was impossible to find halloumi even in Greek supermarkets and whenever we went to Cyprus, it was the first on my list to bring back with us.
Now you can find it easily but even if you can’t, you can buy it online. If you can get a hold of some Greek cheese like graviera, kefalograviera or kefalotyri, it’s still good but kefalotyri might make it a bit salty. A mixture of halloumi and graviera is what I used most of the time when I did not have halloumi.
- 3 cups grated halloumi cheese
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 5 eggs
- 1 (14.45 oz.) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup peanut oil or good quality mild olive oil
- 6 tablespoons dried mint
In a big bowl, whisk the eggs (no mixer required), add the grated cheese, the oil, milk, dried mint and flour. The amount of flour is between 2½ and 3 cups, depending on how big the eggs are.
Grease and flour an 11-inch cake bundt form and pour in the mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 F and bake for about one hour until the crust is golden brown and when a toothpick comes out clean.