With all the feta we have at the moment I thought I would try another Greek speciality, a feta cheese pie without pastry. In some areas this is called a 'batter pie' (zimaropita) and in others a 'flour pie' (alevropita). We had one specially made for us in a small village in the mountain area in the north called Zagorohoria. It was like a large flat cheesey pancake and I have always wanted to make one myself.
When I read the recipe and started making it I realized how like toad-in-the-hole or yorkshire pudding it is. The batter is poured into smoking oil and puffs up into a soft tasty cheese pie.
This is the end result, batter with a covering of crumbled feta cheese, amazingly soft and puffy, even eaten cold the next day.
In days gone by, before there was an electric mixer in every house, cakes and batters were mixed by hand. My sister-in-law still mixes every thing by hand. I used to do the same but is it at least 10 years since we've had a cake mixer.
You probably find it hard to imagine creaming butter and sugar by hand, adding the eggs and getting your hands all mucky in that goopy mush but hands whip up a soft, velvety cream.
The pie is cooked in a large shallow pan and is spread with extra melted butter or oil before going into the oven
Zimaropita - cheese pie without pastry
the batter -
- one mug of water
- one mug of milk
- about 2 mugs of flour
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
oil - 60 grams or more
melted butter - a few tablespoons
- crumbled feta cheese about 250 grams
-Turn your oven on to 200oC.
- Pour enough oil into your large flat baking pan to cover generously all the bottom of the dish.
Put the dish with the oil into the oven and leave it there for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it. You want it to be smoking hot but obviously not to burn.
In the meantime mix all the batter ingredients together into a smooth, pancake batter, either by hand or with a spoon.
When the oil in the baking dish is very hot, carefully take the dish out of the oven and pour in the batter. The batter will immediately puff up around the edges just like Yorkshire pudding.
Sprinkle over the feta cheese and then pour the melted butter evenly over the top. I used half oil and half butter.
Put the dish back in the oven for about 30 minutes till nice and brown on top.
You could also add grated yellow cheese and crumbled fried bacon. Some recipes say to mix the cheese into the batter before pouring it into the baking dish, others to sprinkle it over the top. I added the crumbled feta to the top of the batter but next time I will mix it all together.