15 Jul2008

pies6

While planning our trip to Athens, I had emailed Sha, one of my earliest and most loyal readers, a transplanted Cebuana who calls Athens home, but spends most of the year working all over the world, where only the most beautiful folks and yachts converge. We had hoped to touch base in Athens, not to mention extract some wonderful insider information on markets and places to eat. But scheduling was an issue and we were unable to meet up though Sha sent several emails with terrific suggestions regarding sightseeing and eating in her home town. She also put me in touch with Jo, a Greek archaeologist and food blogger at FOODJUNKIE, who sent me a WONDERFUL list of suggested restaurants and snack places (by district!) in Athens. Thank you so much Jo, we managed to try several of the places you suggested, and we are most grateful for your tips!

pies1

Just around the corner from our hotel was a place Jo described as having “great cheese pies, even my grandmother used to frequent the place…” so off to Ariston for a mid-afternoon merienda or snack. The place had an amazing selection of savory pies, flaky pastry or phyllo dough filled with all manner of cheese and other ingredients. These would definitely qualify as meals, not snacks, but we dove in anyway. I ordered a “pie” filled with sauteed leeks and cheese that was out of this world, rich, flavorful and unlike any savory pie I have tasted before. It was a bit messy to eat, but definitely yummy for the tummy.

pies2

I have to admit that none of us was particularly hungry when we got to the display window of Ariston, and there might have even been a few groans of complaint that we couldn’t possibly eat anything more that day. But one look at the various pies on offer and suddenly our stomachs miraculously created space!

pies3

Mrs. Marketman had some bread with cheese baked into it, sorry, I didn’t record the name of our purchases, we were too engrossed eating them, that was simple yet simply delicious. A bit like a substantial pan de sal with salty cheese. Yum.

pies5

The Kid, immediately skipped the savory counter and headed straight for the sweets and picked out this amazing dessert approximating a giant cookie filled with chocolate cream and sprinkles. Overall, it was a great place to add inches to your already burgeoning mid-section. And the prices? Very reasonable.

pies4

Ariston. Syntagma area. Voulis near Karageorgi Servias Street. And nearby there are lots of other delicious food finds as well!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. rockmyworld3 says:

    This makes my tummy grrrrrowl!!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 11:47 am

     
  2. Vance says:

    Wow!!!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 12:48 pm

     
  3. Fabian says:

    Savory Pies!
    And to use a term I found in another website: Nice shot of the “innards” (typically close-up of the insides of baked good products)

    Jul 15, 2008 | 2:28 pm

     
  4. AleXena says:

    Savory pies and a hot cup of coffee… perfect for a rainy day like this.=)

    Jul 15, 2008 | 2:35 pm

     
  5. Cecile J says:

    Ayayay!!!! The sauteed leeks and cheese pie sounds yummy! MM, could you try making a similar thing in Manila and posting the “experiment”? I would love to try making it as it looks like it would taste good. And Mrs. MM’s cheese-filled bread invites me to bite my pc screen!!!!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:17 pm

     
  6. FoodJunkie says:

    Hey Marketman,
    I am glad you had a good time with my suggestions! The bread with cheese is called “tiropsomo” (which translates to cheese-bread). Yummy pictures too as always!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:37 pm

     
  7. zena says:

    The pies! The pies! They look good and flaky!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:22 pm

     
  8. Katrina says:

    I find savory pies of all sorts irresistable. As I read this, it dawned on me that I may actually prefer savory pies to sweet ones!

    There used to be a stall in Rockwell that sold Greek baklavas and savory pies called borek. The same used to be sold in Mati, too. Sadly, both are gone. Is the one you had in Athens the same as borek?

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:32 pm

     
  9. thelma says:

    how i wish that i could bake pies that good! mm, would you happen to have some good recipes for pies like in these pictures?

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:36 pm

     
  10. shalimar says:

    am in london i forgot all about these places… oh my..
    yes i love tirospomo…. sept am in athens again I really want to stay longer this time.

    miss all kind of pitas….

    Jul 15, 2008 | 10:42 pm

     
  11. Glecy says:

    Savory pies! What a display!

    Jul 16, 2008 | 4:37 am

     
  12. chinachix says:

    the photos alone are good enough to eat! yum!

    Jul 16, 2008 | 8:51 am

     
  13. betty q. says:

    Hello CecileJ. and Thelma…just love savoury pies…not all difficult to make…use store-bought phyllo (1 package), thawed out in refrigerator. Make your filling..now here is where you can wing it!!! …sauteed spinach with roasted peppers and caramelized onions! Wash carefully about 8 to 10 bunches of spinach (once they’re blanched and water squeezed as much as you can, you’re left basically with 8 fistful of spinach), chopped. Then chop about 3 roasted and skinned red peppers, 2 really large onions, chopped and sauteed until caramelized, 1 block of feta cheese, some chopped fresh dill, season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add your caramelized onions or LEEKS , spinach, peppers. Take it off heat and let cool. Once cooled, add your drained and crumbled feta. You can add also a bit of grated smoked gruyere and mozza…Assembly, open package of phyllo, lay a towel over it. Working quickly, take a sheet of phyllo, lay it on top of wax paper, brush with clarified butter..repeat process until you have used half of the package. Set this aside and cover with wax paper. Now do the same with the other half of the phyllo sheets…this saves time and easier to do as you will find out later!!!Now grease bottom of 9×13 pan. Gently lift from the bottom and lay the layers in the pan…Add your filling…Top with the other buttered sheets you have set aside. With a sharp knife, score the top into diamond shape or squares. Brush top with clarified butter and bake 375 degreed until golden brown. …Another filling you have got to try…there is a traditional cheese filling using feta and Parmesan…here is where I add my twist to it..I call it a glorified cheese pie filling: Chop about 6 green onions (1/2 cup). Put in a bowl, add 2 tbsp. chopped capers, 2 tbsp. green peppercorns in brine (drained), 1 block cream cheese, softened, 1 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 cup grated smoked gruyere, 1/2 cup grated mozza, some crumbled blue cheese or cambozola…don’t like blue cheese?..then add crumbled feta instead. Mix everything until smooth using a fork. Add 4 lightly beaten eggs, and bechamel sauce (made with 1/2 cup butter, about 8 tsbp. flour , and 2 cups milk )season with a LITTLE salt and pepperand a pinch of nutmeg. You might not need the entire amount of bechamel.

    Now, if you want to serve these as appetizers, then lay two buttered phyllo sheets. Cut them into 4 finger sized strips (maybe about 3 inch strips?). Then add a tbsp. of spinach filling…or cheese filling( a bit on the dry side…so less bechamel and less eggs) on the bottom ..side nearest you… starting from the right bottom corner, fold over the filling into a triangle….continue folding keeping the shape triangle at all times….If you want to make a LOT, do so and you can freeze them at this point. Brush tops with clarified butter and Bake, 375 degrees until golden brown.

    Another filling…have leftover mashed potatoes? mix in some flaked barbecued fish, caramelized onions, chopped roasted peppers, some chopped parsley…or a PINOY version…how about adobo flakes…alright…I am getting carried away here!!!

    Jul 17, 2008 | 6:03 am

     
  14. Marketman says:

    bettyq, as usual, thank you for that recipe! I have never made a savory pie like these in the photos…so I will have to try it sometime…

    Jul 17, 2008 | 9:53 am

     
  15. Cecile J says:

    Oh, bettyq! YUMMMM!!!! I am going to try your recipes! (I love leeks, capers, all kinds of cheese, bechamel sauce!) Thanks!!!!

    Jul 17, 2008 | 2:27 pm

     
  16. betty q. says:

    You’re welcome, MM and Cecile J!!!! …it’s worth making a looooooot of the baby spanakopitas and the cheesy ones. I make HUNDREDS of those…para isa na lang Hirap….don’t forget to brush the TOPS with clarified butter first (SO THE LAYERS REMAIN INTACT!!!) and then freeze them in a single layer on cookie sheets. Once they’re frozen, you can carefully put them in zip lock bags….very handy if you have unexpected company or make them for your children’s BAON …just pop them in the oven!(I usually pack extra pies for my children’s friends as well!!!)

    Jul 17, 2008 | 9:28 pm

     
  17. betty q. says:

    MM and Cecile J…while at physio earlier, I had a “lightbulb moment”…I usually think of things to make to distract me from the PAIN i am being subjected to…I think the spinach would make a really good filling for a really flaky EMPANADA!!!…OR the spinach and the cheesy one as well would make a good filling too in a pizza dough shaped into a CALZONE….maybe the Spinach Empanada would be less calories that Spanakopita ( because of the clarified butter brushed on each sheet…but I have made spanakopitas phyllo layers spritz with PAM!…still came out flaky but with less buttery taste…)

    Jul 18, 2008 | 3:54 am

     
  18. Cecile J says:

    Thanks for all the tips, bettyq! Hope your physio sessions ultimately leave you pain-free. take care.

    Jul 21, 2008 | 10:04 am

     
  19. ashiebee says:

    helloo :))

    i was looking for the food to try in athens. can you recommend more to me?

    thanks! **hugs**

    Mar 11, 2009 | 8:47 pm

     
 

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