Serbian Cheese Pie should be promoted into a national heritage. Literally every house in Serbia serves it on the table. Every woman in Serbia inherits the recipe from her mother. Once she moves out, you can measure the level of her independence through how much variations she picked up on her own. Once she marries, she needs to adjust to the Serbian cheese pie recipe of her mother-in-law, or suffer many fights of whose recipe is better. At every gathering on any occasion, be it a wedding or a funeral, a marriage or a separation celebration, you will find a small circle of woman discussing the pie. How was it made, would you do it the same? Do you use pavlaka or yoghurt? How much? I see. And so on. It´s not the basics, they are always the same, it´s the magic at place: that fine proportion of cheese and yoghurt one puts in, the quantity of eggs, the water splash. Then, the pie is defined by the sort of cheese. Or the way one is rolling the pastry. It all makes it so special. And so personal. My mother used to put tons of yoghurt in the sauce, so it tasted like lasagne at the end. Others love it crispy. I have an aunt, who is famous for being a great cook. Every time you ask her about with how much of what she creates her miracles, she just does not say. She always jokes about it and changes the topic. Some people just like jelaeously keeping it in the family.
Here is the recipe of my friend who gave up her family secret. Enjoy it!
Serbian Cheese Pie Recipe
– 2 packages (about 1 kg) of fillo pastry at the Greeks, or sweet baklava pastry at the Turks: I bought some great pie pastry in the Eurogida Chain of Turkish groceries.
– half a cup of sparkling mineral water mixed with two spoons of sunflower oil.
You can use olive oil as well, but it will taste different.
– one egg for the glazing a.k.a. egg wash or pastry blush
Do not buy the salt pie pastry at the Turks, even if you need it for the salty pie! The pastry is a way too thick for what we are used to in Serbia, and it tastes like bread. I also tried making the Serbian cheese pie with the German Blätterteig – this totally did not work out! It tastes like a cheese croissant and not like a cheese pie.
– 600 – 800 gr cheese (Schafskäse or Frischkäse or fresh cow cheese at the turkish markt)*
It won´t work with Gouda or Brie or whatever creative idea you might have, resist it! You can do that, also with salami, bacon or ham, but you will be creating a pizza pie, not a Serbian cheese pie.
*You can also add half a cheese and half a spinach (Rahmspinat) and create a Serbian Spinach Pie.
– 1, 5 crème fraîche or pavlaka (sour creme)***
– 4 eggs
– sparkling water
– pint of salt (if the cheese is salty, avoid it)
Mix the eggs and add all the ingredients, squeeze the cheese. Sprinkle with mineral water if the consistence is to heavy, but do not make it to watery neither. The fill should be thick enough, not to wet the crusts.
Spread two pie crusts together
wet it with the mixture of sparkling water and oil
spread the fill (Photo 1).
Repeat until all pie crusts are used.
Wet the crusts with the water and oil mixture regularly. Don´t forget! It will make the pie so crusty you will not be able to bite it. You need to wet the pastry. Basta.
Roll. Wet the pastry. Roll. Wet the pastry. Roll. Wet the pastry.
Splash the egg wash over it.
Put in the oven at 200°C for 45-60 min.
Check regularly, the time depends on the oven: the pie should be yellow and crispy.
*** We, Serbians in exile separated from the Motherboard, are condemned to crème fraîche. In Serbia we have a variant of crème fraîche, called pavlaka: it is basically a saure crème fraîche, not the neutral one, like in Germany. This creates completely different taste. The Serbian cuisine is extremely acid, exactly because of the taste of pavlaka.
Viktorija about why scientists are great cooks!
These days I had an attack of nostalgia for my Serbian culinary heritage, which presented itself through an incredible desire to eat a Serbian cheese pie my mum and grandmum used to make. I thought no problem I will reconnect with the skill I received long time ago from my female ancestors, buy the pie pastry and cheese and simply make one. Unfortunately, I was than faced with the difficulty of finding compatible ingredients which would satisfy the standards set by the proud pie making women of Serbia. I was desperate…… but then, I remembered that I am a person with 10 years of experience in impossible experiments optimisation, so I activated the usual problem solving machinery and after thorough analysis of the possibilities that food market in Cologne has to offer, I went with Turkish baklava filo pastry and Bulgarian cow cheese instead of Serbian originals. From the pictures you can appreciate the result, unfortunately only visually, but trust me I am still enjoying the spiritual bliss after the experience of eating it…..