Dessert/ Greek Classics/ Pites Pies

Sarikopites: Turban Cheese Pies from Crete

Sarikopites are fried pies that are filled with cheese and made with a homemade simple dough. They’re served warm and drizzled with honey and a touch of sesame seeds. All of the flavors of Crete in every bite.

 

 

Watch the Video Tutorial Here:


 

Simple yet so delicious. That’s the only way to describe these pastries. The homemade pastry dough is made with such basic pantry staples:

  • all-purpose flour
  • water
  • oil
  • vinegar
  • salt

Similarly, the filling is traditionally made with just one ingredient: local xinomyzithra cheese. It is hard to find outside of Crete and the closest that I could get to a good substitute is a combination of ricotta (drained well of the excess liquid) and feta. The ricotta lends creaminess and the feta adds that hint of tang that xinomyzithra is famous for. I also add a splash of vanilla for a nice floral flavor.

Sarikopita gets its name from the Sariki (the turban that Cretan men wear). See a pic here.

Once it is assembled then, the pies are fried and drizzled with lots of Cretan honey. Alternatively, you may feel free to cover the pies in powdered sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon. It’s up to you. They taste best warm alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Can the Sarikopites be made ahead?

Yes! Absolutely. They can be assembled the day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to fry. 

They also freeze beautifully. Assemble the pies and place them in the freezer until they freeze solid. Then, transfer the pies into a freezer-safe bag up to 2 months. 

You can fry the pies while they are still frozen. Just add an extra minute of frying time per side. So, first, fry them for 4 minutes per side as per the recipe instructions and then 1 more minute on each side. This will prevent them from getting too dark in the pan.

Can the pastries be baked instead of fried?

Although these pastries taste best when they are fried, if you want to you can bake them. 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.

Place the pies on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper and brush them liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top (optional) and serve with honey or with powdered sugar.

Note: The pies will not be as golden or as light and crisp on the outside as the fried pies are. Still good but, if you can fry them!

Make these for your friends and family and serve them with some coffee or tea. I love seeing your pics so, please share them with me on Instagram & Facebook. Let me know what you think in the comments section. 

 

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Print Recipe

Sarikopites: Turban Cheese Pies from Crete

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dessert greek, mediterranean
By Dimitra Khan Serves: 12 pastries

Sarikopites are fried pies that are filled with cheese and made with a homemade simple dough. They're served warm and drizzled with honey and a touch of sesame seeds. All of the flavors of Crete in every bite.

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 4 cups (585-600g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For the Filling:
  • 1-pound xynomyzithra or:
  • • 15 ounces (424 g) ricotta cheese
  • • 8 ounces (227 g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Toppings:
  • • Honey
  • • Confectioner’s sugar
  • • Sesame Seeds
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

1

Place the ricotta cheese in a strainer and set over a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. Alternatively, flatten it out and wrap with paper towels. Switch out the paper towels often and after 2 hours the excess liquid should have released.

2

Make the dough:

3

Combine the water, oil, salt, and vinegar in a large bowl. Whisk together and slowly add the flour. Knead together until a smooth dough is formed. Add 2-3 tablespoons (or more) of water if needed. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

4

Make the filling:

5

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

6

Assemble the pies:

7

Cut the dough into 2 equal portions. Set one portion aside.

8

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and roll each portion of dough out to an 18 by 10-inch rectangle (46 cm by 25 cm).

9

Cut each rectangle into 6 strips (3 inches by 10 inches).

10

Divide the filling into 12 equal portions. This step is optional.

11

Spread the filling onto the bottom of each strip and brush the top and sides of the strips with some water. Roll each strip up and then into a coil.

12

Set aside on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper.

13

Pour vegetable oil (about 2 inches) into a heavy skillet and heat it over medium heat until it reaches 325 °F (165 °C).

14

Fry the pies in a few batches approximately 4 minutes per side or until golden all around.

15

Place the fried pies on a plate/pan that has been lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

16

Serve them warm drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Alternatively, top with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon.

Notes

Refrigerator Instructions: The pies may be assembled a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Freezer Instructions: The assembles pies can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months (uncooked). Set them in the freezer until they freeze (solid) then, transfer them into freezer-safe bags. When ready to serve them fry them frozen as per the recipe instructions. Except after frying them for 4 minutes on each side, fry them 1 minute longer per side. Baking Instructions: These pies taste best fried. However, you may bake them in a preheated 350 °F oven. Place the pies on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. Brush the pies on their tops and sides with melted butter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over top (optional) and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden.

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Nick @ GreekBoston.com
    June 10, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    The food on Crete is so delicious and fresh. These cheese pies are no exception! It was one of my favorite things to eat while on Crete.

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