Zagori

Manitaropita from Zagori (mushroom pie)

Traditional Zagorian pie with local wild mushrooms and crunchy filo pastry.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Manitaropita from Zagori (mushroom pie)
Before cooking...

On the slopes of Pindos, where the villages of Zagori (or Zagorohoria) are pinned, people simply couldn’t rely on their crops alone to survive. So, they reaped the generous gifts of mother nature at any opportunity. The surrounding forests were abundant in edible wild mushrooms. They collected them and made several mushroom-based delicacies like this highly nutritious savory pie.

Manitaropita from Zagori (mushroom pie)

Ingredients

This traditional recipe contains fresh porcini mushrooms. However, if you cannot find them, it’s fine to combine your favorite mushrooms and add some dried porcini or porcini powder to get flavors and aromas reminiscent of the mountain and the forest.

For the traditional filo:

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g water, lukewarm
  • 50 g olive oil
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g vinegar

For the filling:

  • 1 kg fresh porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Olive oil (for sauteing and coating)
  • Sheep or goat butter (for sauteing)
  • 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 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 7 even balls and roll them into 7 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  3. In a frying pan, heat a bit of olive oil and some butter, and saute the finely chopped onions for a few minutes. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and saute for 1-2 additional minutes. Remove the filling from the heat and leave it aside to cool.
  4. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 200 °C.
  5. Brush a baking pan with olive oil, lay a filo sheet, and cut off the excess dough. Bake it for a few minutes, and leave it aside. Repeat for 2 more filo sheets.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until mixed. Add the beaten eggs to the cold filling and stir gently.
  7. Brush the same baking pan with olive oil. Lay 2 unbaked filo sheets brushing with olive oil in between. Lay a baked filo sheet and spread ⅓ of the filling evenly. Lay another baked filo sheet and spread half of the remaining filling evenly. Lay the last baked filo sheet and spread the rest of the filling evenly. Cover with the remaining unbaked filo sheets brushing with olive oil in between and on top.
  8. Roll and fold the excess filo dough with your hands to form a thick rim around the pie. Drizzle the rim with olive oil.
  9. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 30 minutes (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  10. Let the manitaropita cool for a bit and serve.

This Zagorian mushroom pie is a testament to how rich and flavorful the Epirote diet was, thanks to the locals’ deep knowledge of nature’s raw materials.

After cooking...

For the Epirotes living in the mountains, alpine lakes are known as “Drakolimnes” (dragon-lakes) from the native alpine newt they call “drakakia” (little dragons). The most famous Epirote Dragonlake is found on Mount Tymfi amidst a small green glacial valley at 2050 m. The surrounding landscape seems ripped straight from the Alps, while the uninterrupted view of Smolikas, the highest Pindos mountain, is utterly breathtaking.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...