Travel & Life Digest

Cheesepie in a Twist {Strifti Tiropita} & Cool Cucumber Salad

Strifti Tiropita {aka Cheese Pie in a Twist} is a special dish found around mountain, village restaurants in Greece. My favourite part is that it's baked in a spiral shape and when it's done all of the folds and creases make it look so intriguing.  It makes for great picnic food too because you can break pieces off by hand, when it's cooled down.

The pickled cucumber salad is the perfect light, crunchy and punchy accompaniment to the salty, cheesy pie.

Strifti Tiropita - with Homemade Pastry

- Two cups of plain Flour
- Three tablespoons of Olive Oil
- Two tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
- One cup of warm Water
- One teaspoon of Rock Salt
- Plain Flour and Corn Starch mix for the rolling, about half a cup

- 250gr Feta, crumbled
- 100gr Ricotta
- Two Eggs
- Two tablespoons of chopped Dill
- Salt & freshly ground Pepper

Home-made Pastry - Mix the Flour, Vinegar, Olive Oil, Water and Salt in a deep bowl.
Use your fingers and try to incorporate more and more flour, as you go along. If the dough feels a bit too sticky add another half a handful of flour.
When the dough has taken up all of the flour start kneading it in the bowl: push part of the dough away from you, using the bottom of your palm, then roll the dough back in with your fingers, repeat a couple of times until you have a little ball.
Cover with a wet towel and keep in a warm space for an hour and a half to two hours. I keep it in the boiler cupboard.

Rolling out the Pastry - flour a dry surface with a handful of the flour-corn starch mix.
Knead the dough a bit more on the flat surface, as you did before. Split the dough in two parts, it'll be easier to handle.
Sprinkle some more flour-corn starch mix on the dry surface and roll one of the dough parts out, by keep turning it around towards all directions. Ultimately, pick a side of the dough to stretch out more so that you end up with a rectangular shape - or as close to it as possible.
This was my first attempt ever at making pastry, so I resorted to cutting off all of the uneven parts and rolling them over the corners missing, to get close to a rectangular shape. It worked!
The Filling - In a bowl mix the crumbled feta, ricotta, eggs, dill and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 
Assemble - Spread half of the filling on the rolled out rectangular dough, staying away from the edges.  
Fold around 2 centimetres of the dough in, over the filling, all along the side. 
Brush with olive oil along the fold. Continue folding over, brushing with olive oil every time. 
You'll end up with a flute-like, soft, feta-bursting roll.  
Repeat with the second piece of dough.
The "Twist" - This part is delicate, be brave.
Move the dough rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Start from the middle, working around creating a spiral.
As you place the dough on the baking tray, twist the roll to create little folds. don't force it or it'll brake. Allow a bit of space between the spirals, this will allow the heat to get to all sides of the dough and it'll expand a bit.
Bake - for an hour at 180C.

Cool Cucumber Salad
- One Cucumber
- Three or Four tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
- Half a teaspoon of Rock Salt
- Half a teaspoon of Sugar
- One Red Chicory
- A handful of Pomegranate Seeds
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt
- Juice of half a Lemon
- Two tablespoons of chopped Dill
The Pickle - Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar in a deep bowl.
Cucumber - Give it a rinse and using a potato peeler shave off thin slivers, until you reach the seedy part. Stop there, this part is too watery.
Drop the Cucumber shavings in the Pickle, toss around, cover with Clingfilm and put in fridge for half an hour at least.  
Chicory - Rinse under running water, cut in half and then slice each half vertically in long strips.
Assemble - Start wit the Chicory strips, drizzle the olive oil over them and some salt.
With the help of a fork, create little Cucumber nests, as if you were eating spaghetti. Drop the Cucumber nests over the Chicory.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of the Pickle over the salad, but not too much, you want the Chicory to remain crunchy.  
Sprinkle with the chopped Dill and Pomegranate seeds over the salad.
Finish off with squeezed Lemon.

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