Bite My Kitchen by Gordana

Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie

15 minutes

easy

6 - 8 servings

“Pita and yoghurt, please!” is the most common order that can be heard in the early mornings of busy Serbian bakeries. I too have often been the person making this order. Pita, also known as pie, is a filled pastry made in homes and bakeries around Serbia and other countries across the Balkans. Between the layers of dough, pitas are most commonly made with cheese, minced meat, greens, or baked without any stuffing at all. There are also sweet versions of pita made with apples, walnuts, or pumpkin. This recipe is representative of how I re-create the Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie at home while living in New Zealand. The filo pastry for this recipe is stuffed with sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs and some crumbed feta. It takes very little effort to prepare and makes a great appetizer, snack, brunch or side dish.

Pita Variations

Pita, gibanica or other variations such as burek are a trademark in Serbian cuisine. There is no bakery or household across the Balkans that does not serve up a savory or sweet pita. A Serbian Pita is a quicker alternative to a traditional burek, served on festive occasions, or as a comforting family snack. In Serbia, the dish is eaten as breakfast, dinner, appetizer and snack. It is also often served at traditional events such Christmas, Easter or a Slava.

Asides from the popular Cheese Gibanica that was made often in our household, there is a meat pita (also known as burek), pita with potatoes (krompirusa), pita with spinach or silverbeet (zeljenak), pita with apples, pumpkin, walnuts and oddly enough a pita with nothing, just plain pastry. Yes, that is a thing. Traditionally, many women have made their dough from scratch, I have recently learned to make a homemade pastry from scratch and while it is amazing, the process is time consuming. For that reason, ready made phyllo does the trick.

The recipe for this Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie is prepared using sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs and crumbed feta. You can serve this dish as an appetizer or snack. Do not be afraid to serve a Serbian Pita for breakfast, lunch or dinner with yoghurt to experience how this dish is enjoyed amongst the Serbians.

The filo pastry

Filo, fillo or phyllo is a very thin dough used for making a variety of pastries such as the famous baklava, pitas and bureks. Working with filo can be delicate business as it dries out very easily once it has been exposed to air. Imagine filo pastry to be a very delicate piece of paper. You need to be very careful but also quick so that the filo does not dry out and become crusty.

  • Gently unroll the pack of filo sheets as they are very delicate and can break or dry out very easily.
  • When working with filo, keep it covered with a wet, clean cloth. Work relatively quickly once it is opened.
  • Prepare all of the other ingredients prior to opening the filo pastry pack. Have the baking dish ready as well.
  • Only take the dough sheets out of the packet as needed and keep them covered otherwise.

The filling

For this Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie recipe you will need sour cream, cottage cheese, two beaten eggs, crumbed feta, some oil and melted butter for brushing. You will also need one large bowl to combine the sour cream, cottage cheese and the two eggs. The crumbed, feta cheese is also sprinkled over the pita. The oil and the melted butter are for greasing the layers of the phyllo sheet as well as the pita before it goes into the oven.

Putting it all together

Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie is usually rolled and then coiled into one big circle or into small spirals. You can bake a pita in a round dish or as single rolled pitas on a flat baking dish. I have a recipe for the Serbian Gibanica which requires similar ingredients, but the method is different. Pita is really defined by being rolled into spirals or being baked as small, individual pieces.

For this Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie, simply layer three sheets of phyllo one on top of the other. Then, grease with a little vegetable oil and spread three spoonful’s of the sour cream, cottage cheese and egg mixture. Finally place a handful of crumbed feta on the end closes to you. Shape into a roll starting from the edge closest to you and working upwards. Place each rolled pita into a round baking dish until you get a round shape. This step is like placing puzzle pieces together until one spiraled circle is formed. Grease the finished pita with generous amount of melted butter and bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes.

Unlike the popular Gibanica, pitas are a different method of preparing a savory treat at home. The rolled shape of the pita gives the entire dish a different texture, crunch with a delicious cheesy filling. You can serve pitas with some fresh vegetables, dried meats, ham or a nice salad.

Did you make this recipe?

I hope that you enjoy making this delicious Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie. It really is a taste of the Serbian cuisine 😊. Feel free to leave a rating or a comment below, I would love to know your thoughts. You can also find me over on @bitemykitchen___.

Reviews

Ingredients:

Adjust Servings
500g phyllo pastry
200 g sour cream
200g cottage cheese
2 whole eggs
150g feta cheese
40 ml vegetable oil
40g melted butter

Directions

1.
THE FILLING
Preheat the oven to 180°C . Grease a round baking dish with some butter and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese and the two eggs. Mix until it is well combined. In a separate, small bowl, crumb the feta cheese and set aside.
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2.
SHAPING THE PITA / PIES
Spread three sheets of filo pastry on a chopping board or any clean surface. Lightly brush the top of the filo pastry with some oil and spread the sour cream, cottage cheese and egg filling across the pastry. On the bottom edge of the phyllo pastry, spread a handful of the crumbed feta.
Fold the shorter end of the filo inwards. Then start rolling until the filo pastry resembles a roll. Place the rolled filo into a round dish and repeat the process with the remainder of the filo pastry and the filling until you form a round circle in the dish. Alternatively bake the pita as individual rolls on a flat baking tray.
Mark as complete
3.
BAKING THE PITA
Before baking, brush the top of the rolled pita with melted butter and place in the oven. Bake between 40 - 45 minutes in the oven until the pastry turns golden brown.
Once the pita is done, let it slightly cool before serving. The pita is best eaten warm.
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