Siphnopitta or Siphnos Pie

This is from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M Stubbs (1963). I chose an unseasonal Easter dessert to make.   To say this recipe went badly amiss would be an understatement. It almost all went in to the bin. Here’s the recipe:

I was unable (too lazy) to find mizithra so I bought Tesco Value cottage cheese instead. Jus-Rol puff pastry was used instead of making pastry, for similar reasons. The making of the filling went quite well, and uncooked the dish looked like this:

I think we can all agree (yes, the photo is upside down, get over it) that this looks like something that is about to cook into a delicious, irresistible pie. The lumps of cottage cheese are particularly alluring.

After a long time, longer than the recipe suggests, in the oven at gas mark whatever, the pastry had burnt and the filling risen up menacingly, cracked and burnt slightly on top, but remained essentially uncooked underneath. It was like a huge crème brûlée made by a moron:

I left it in the oven until it seemed mostly firm, by which point it looked like this:

The overwhelming taste was of honey infused cottage cheese. It had all the rubbery vileness of overcooked cheese, and the slightly acrid taste of honey that’s been heated too long. The pastry, where unburnt, was almost edible and had achieved a taste and texture not unsimilar to cheap baclava. I could not finish a small plateful. It was horrendous. I left the remainder in the oven overnight and tried to eat some more the next evening, by this stage it looked like this: It tasted even worse. It is now in the bin and I am trying to soak the remains off the pastry dish. Do not make this recipe.

Siphno’d by Alix


6 responses to “Siphnopitta or Siphnos Pie

  1. Lordy, what a waste of time and money. You have my sympathy.

  2. I’m actually scared of this…

  3. it does look like the greek food I’ve had on holiday though (even on non-tourist trap islands before I get told I’m missing the authentic joy of Greek cuisine… they have a few gorgeous things and the rest of it is basically this as far as i can tell :()

  4. We should have a whip-round to pay for the ingredients. With a little adjustment they could have been used for something edible, e.g. toast and honey. Your pioneering spirit is admired, Alix.

  5. Sorry it turned out so badly. I’ve made this recipe several times from the same book and it always turns out great. The only difference is that I replace cottage cheese with cream cheese because I think British supermarket-style cottage cheese is pretty horrible and pointless and I doubt if it’s a good substitute for the Greek cheese. Also, I use a simple home-made sweet short-crust pasty. Look at the rest of the ingredients – all yummy stuff, so how can it taste so wrong? I reckon that one of the problems for you was that you obviously didn’t mash the cottage cheese well enough, if at all: I guess you have to aim for a very smooth non-lumpy consistency, not something that looks like sweetcorn risotto.

  6. Thanks for commenting, Janey. We’ll bear your helpful tips in mind if we try it again.