Metsovo

Kassiata (cheesepie)

Traditional Metsovite cheesepie that stands out for its unusual technique.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Kassiata (cheesepie)
Before cooking...

What makes this traditional Epirotic pie unique is the last preparation stage before baking. Usually, filo pastry pies are laid, filled, covered, and baked. The kassiata is laid, filled, covered, folded, rolled, and then baked. That way, the filo sheets, and the filling become intertwined, and you can only distinguish them when you take the first delightful bite.

Kassiata (cheesepie)

Ingredients

In mountainous areas like Metsovo, stock raising primarily involved goat and sheep herds, so most dairy products were made from goat, sheep, or blended milk. That said, if you want to enjoy an authentic Kassiata, it’s best to use sheep butter and feta cheese made in Epirus.

For the traditional filo:

  • 1 kg all-purpose flour
  • 400 g water, lukewarm
  • 100 g olive oil
  • 25 g salt
  • 15 g vinegar

For the filling:

  • 1 kg feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 kg sheep butter

Note: For a more authentic traditional filo dough, you can use hard flour, but you might have to sift it first. Alternatively, you can use ready-made Greek filo pastry.

Execution

  1. In a large bowl, gently stir the ingredients for the traditional filo dough except for the water (flour, salt, olive oil, and vinegar). Add the water slowly while mixing with a spoon. When the liquids are absorbed, knead the mixture until the dough is smooth and non-sticky. Roll it into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. When the dough is ready, divide it into 17 even balls and roll them into 17 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  3. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 180 °C.
  4. Brush the baking pan with some of the butter and melt the rest in a saucepan.
  5. On the kitchen counter, lay a filo sheet, spread some crumbled feta, and sprinkle with melted butter. Repeat for the remaining filo sheets except for the last one, which covers the pie. Roll the pastry into a cylinder and twist with both hands into a helix.
  6. Roll the dough into the butter-coated baking pan and lay it out with your fingers until it covers the surface. Brush the pie with butter.
  7. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 40 minutes (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  8. Let the kassiata cool for a bit and serve.

This delightful cheesepie leaves even the most demanding pie lover hungry for more. It’s an excellent example of how the Epirus women could make a unique delicacy with just a few basic materials.

After cooking...

Baron Michael Tossizza’s legacy is omnipresent across the birthplace of his forefathers. After all, the Italian-born nobleman of Metsovite origins bequeathed his whole fortune to Metsovo through his namesake institution. One of his most significant contributions was turning his traditional paternal manor into a unique folk art museum, a true modern-day testament to the Metsovites’ everyday life and customs throughout the ages.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...