Ioannina

Koftopita (open pie)

Traditional Epirotic open pie with wheat porridge.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Koftopita (open pie)
Before cooking...

In the local Epirotic dialect, people call the coarse wheat seeds ground in a handmill “kofto” and the half-open pies (partly covered by the excess filo pastry) “kothropites.” That said, koftopita is a kothropita filled with cooked kofto. In some places, they made it on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for farmers and stock breeders. Elsewhere, they made it in the summer for their “panygiria” (local patron-saint feasts).

Koftopita (open pie)

Ingredients

The traditional kofto was ground in a stone handmill, but you can grind your wheat in a food processor. Alternatively, you can use bulgur which can save you time since it’s made of parboiled wheat seeds.

For the traditional filo:

  • 250 gr all-purpose flour
  • 100 gr water, lukewarm
  • 25 gr olive oil
  • 8 gr salt
  • 5 gr vinegar

For the filling:

  • 300 gr hulled hard wheat grains, coarsely ground
  • 1 l water
  • 5 eggs
  • 100 gr sheep butter
  • 2 onions, grated
  • Salt (to preference)
  • Pepper (to preference)

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

Execution

  1. In a cooking pan, boil the coarse wheat in water until you have a thick porridge.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the eggs, butter, grated onions, salt, and pepper, and mix until they are incorporated in the porridge.
  3. 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.
  4. When the dough is ready, divide it into 3 even balls and roll them into 3 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  5. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 180 °C.
  6. Brush a baking pan with olive oil. Lay the filo sheets one by one brushing with olive oil in between and letting the excess dough drape out of the pan. Spread the porridge evenly. Fold the excess filo dough with your hands to cover part of the filling and leave the rest open.
  7. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 50 minutes (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  8. Let the koftopita cool for a bit and serve.

This Epirotic wheat pie is a flexible dish since you can add anything you like in the porridge that doubles as filling. Epirote homemakers often added meat to make their koftopita more flavorful and festive.

After cooking…

Across the Arachthos River, which springs from Metsovo and pours out to the Amvrakikos Gulf, there are 55 traditional stone arched bridges. One of those, the “Gefyri tis Plakas,” is the tallest one-arch bridge in the Balkans and the third in Europe. After standing tall for one and a half century, the bridge collapsed in 2015. A few years later, its renovation became the largest implemented stone bridge restoration project in the world!

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking…