Epirus, the pie lover’s destination

Demetrios Georgalas‘s insight:

The most common of these pies made with wild greens is “blatsara,” where, instead of a simple phyllo pastry, the filling is encased in a thick batter made of corn flour, soured milk and olive oil. The secret is to achieve the perfect consistency so that you can spread a layer on the bottom of a baking tray, cover it with a mixture of greens and cheese (optional) and top it off with another layer of batter, getting a nice, crunchy top and bottom after baking. In another recipe, wild mushrooms are used in the same way as the greens, with the difference that they are sauteed with onions and drained of their juices beforehand.

In Epirus, cooks also fold the filling into the batter, resulting in a kind of pastry-less tart.

In villages that get a lot of snow in the winter, residents collect wild greens in spring and autumn and dry them. The greens are stored in cloth bags that are dipped in a thick salt paste and hardened. When they need some greens, they soak them in water and use them to make “stegnopita” (dry pie).

Epirus also boasts a healthy livestock farming industry, a fact that is apparent in the pies as well. The all-time classic is the ordinary cheese pie with homemade phyllo pastry and feta cheese or its milder anthotyro cousin. The queen of all pies, one for special occasions and guests, is made with freshly made soft goat cheese. When mixed with soured milk, the fresh cheese is known as “pagouda” and the pie as “pagoudopita.” When the soured milk is not added, then the pie is known as “galatopsomo.”

The differentiation shows a certain sophistication of palate that surprises visitors to Epirus, who usually miss the nuances that a cheese pie can have.

“Thlasti” is a pie made of layers of buttered phyllo pastry and cheese that becomes puffy and crunchy as it bakes. 

Cheese pies are also made without a phyllo top or bottom, with a baked mixture of boiled corn flour and milk, with crumbled feta and eggs added in.

Chicken pies are made using the boiled meat of the chicken and making a light bechamel with the stock, corn flour, eggs and sometimes cheese. Duck and other poultry replaces chicken in pies known as “breki” or “boureki.”

Meat pies are usually made with nice juicy chunks, though mince has made an appearance recently.

However, the most important distinction between Epirus’s pies is between those made for the family on a day-to-day basis – called “famelitiki pita” – and those made for special occasions, when additional attention is paid to the ingredients and execution.

Below is a very basic recipe that can be found all over Epirus in myriad variations using different pastry or none at all, different cheeses, with yogurt or eggs, or with the stuffing all together between a top and bottom layer of pastry. You can also add wild greens and herbs to this recipe.

See on www.ekathimerini.com

About brexians

Demetrios Georgalas (A Surviving Globalization Consultant) was born in 1961 in Bern and grew up in Athens. In1985, graduated from Surrey University with a Tourism Management BSc (Hons). In 1998, graduated from LMTB under Freie Universitat Berlin, with a Diploma Lasers in Medicine. His professional career was started in the private sector and at the same time he created his first consulting company D+G Consultants Inc. Worked for major multinationals in Greece and abroad (FMCGs / Pharmaceuticals / Tourism). Demetrios Georgalas, having established also Travelling 2 Greece a destination management company, while with the D+G Consultants working in the areas of BTL and special marketing projects. He is activated except from Greece in the Balkans and in Turkey, consulting his clientele with new innovative proposals. Apart from his enterprising activities, he dabbles at blogging, travelling and cooking while he is married and has two children. In conclusion Demetrios Georgalas is an Athenian, Greek, Agnostic, Traveller, & Liberal he likes sci-fi, photography, blogging, travelling and cooking and if you like fascism or any kind of dogma, keep out! Δημήτρης Κ. Γεωργαλάς Γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1961, σπούδασε Τουριστική Διαχείριση στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και κατέχει μεταπτυχιακό τίτλο στην Βιοτεχνολογία. Έχει εργαστεί σε μεγάλα τουριστικά γραφεία του εσωτερικού, και σε πολυεθνικές σε Ελλάδα και Εξωτερικό, στο χώρο των φαρμάκων, των ιατρικών μηχανημάτων και των FMCG’s. Από το 2001 είναι ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας, με δραστηριότητα στην διαχείριση προορισμού, τον θεματικό τουρισμό και τις ειδικές ενέργειες marketing. Είναι παντρεμένος και πατέρας δυο παιδιών, διδάσκει ειδικά θέματα εξωτερικού εμπορίου και κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, σε επιχειρήσεις και οργανισμούς. Ασχολείται ενεργά με το διαδίκτυο από το 1993 με άμεση εμπλοκή στα κοινωνικά δίκτυα και στο «ιστολογείν». Φανατικός ταξιδευτής, ερασιτέχνης φωτογράφος, μαχόμενος αγνωστικός και φιλελεύθερος. Όραμά του μια Ευρωπαϊκή Ελλάδα. https://brexians.wordpress.com
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