Manitaropita is a Greek dish made by filling a phyllo dough with mushrooms and cheese and folding it into a small triangle. Manitaropita belongs to a family of Greek foods called meze, small dishes traditionally served as appetizers. These foods are often found in casual bars and cafes, and also appear at parties and other social gatherings as snacks for guests. Some Greek restaurants and bakeries offer manitaropita, and the dish can also be found frozen, for people who wish to prepare it at home. The most ambitious cooks can make their own.
A wide variety of mushrooms, including oysters, can be used in manitaropita.
Greek cuisine includes a number of dishes made from filo dough and various fillings. One of the most famous is probably spanakopita, a dish made from spinach, cheese, and filo dough. However, it is also possible to find kreatopita, small filo triangles filled with lamb meat, and thalassopita, which are filled with shellfish. Essentially, the cook’s imagination is the only limit when making stuffed phyllo meze.
Manitaropita can be a good midnight snack.
The mushrooms used in manitaropita vary. A mix of mushrooms is often preferred to create contrasting textures and flavors; If you live in an area where wild mushrooms are available, you may want to consider using a wild mushroom mix. Classically the cheese of choice is kefalograviera, a hard sheep’s milk cheese, although a variety of other hard and soft cheeses such as feta and kefalotiri can also be used.
The mushrooms are cooked before being mixed with the cheese; they are typically cooked with onions and spices and then the cheese is grated or broken up so the mushrooms can be mixed in. For a creamier filling, cooks can mix in one or two eggs, depending on the total volume of the filling; cooks don’t want the filling to be too wet, as it can break the phyllo while handling.
When manitaropitas are made, cooks often design them as single-serving units. Large sheets of phyllo dough are often cut in half to create two long rectangles, and a small pile of filling is made at one end of one rectangle before the cook folds the phyllo into a triangle and brushes it with butter. . Most cooks fold several more rectangles around the first, creating a flaky, layered triangle that will form crisp, crunchy layers as it bakes. Cooks can also make an assortment of tiropita; a mix of phyllo triangles filled with various things including manitaropita and kreatopita along with fillings of the cook’s own invention.
After baking, manitaropitas can be served hot as an appetizer or cold as a snack. They are almost like little pocket sandwiches; if they are well wrapped, they can be taken on walks and excursions such as picnics. They can also be great midnight snacks after a busy party.