Tsipopita is a traditional Cypriot dessert (pita) made with home made phyllo and tsipa, which is the name of the butter used. To make this butter full fat ewe’s milk is used and it is made by collecting the skin or crust which is formed on top of the milk, which in Greek is called τσίπα (tsipa).
This pita is traditionally made with layers of phyllo which are brushed with tsipa and then ground cinnamon and cloves are sprinkled between each layer of phyllo. It is then rolled, baked and drenched in an armatic sugar syrup.
A friend and reader of my blog asked me yesterday if I could post the recipe for tsipopita. Although I knew how to make it, I have never made it before. As I am still on a diet, I avoid using butter so I explained to her how to make it and at the time it didn’t even cross my mind to make it.
However, later in the afternoon our contractor visited us and he told us that he needs us to go to Nafplion on Monday for some details regarding the house, which need to be clarified on the spot. When he was leaving, he jokingly asked me if I could make some daktyla.
After almost a year since we met and visiting Nafplion at least once a month, we are now friends and I have made daktyla for him and the crew a few times and they love them. Although this morning I was planning to make daktyla, I couldn’t get tsipopita out of my mind and since I had some leftover stakovoutyro in the refrigerator, I decided to surprise them with tsipopita instead and hope they will like it. Stakovoutyro is a Cretan butter which is similar to tsipa but if you have neither of them, you can use clarified butter.
I made a twist of tsipopita using roasted almonds in the filling, which is a cross between daktyla and baklavas.
This dessert is delicious but it is high in calories. I am really tempted to try it, even if it is a tiny piece!!
Tsipopita, my take on a traditional Cypriot recipe
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 35 pieces
100 grams tsipa butter (I used stakovoutyro)
For the dough:
500 grams all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup water
For the syrup:
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cups water
1 lemon rind
½ piece cinnamon stick
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp rosewater
For the filling:
100 grams roasted almonds
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rose water
Prepare dough and set aside to rest for half an hour. See how to make dough here.
While dough is resting prepare the syrup. Put the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves, lemon peel and lemon juice in a sauce pan and bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel and add rose water and let it cool. By the time you have finished making tsipopita the syrup will be ready for use.
Roast the almonds in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden and give them a quick pulse in a food processor. Mix them with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and rose water.
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll out the dough on the pasta machine from No.1 to 3, to 6 and go until no. 8, to make a thin phyllo. Make a long piece of phyllo which cut into the middle and join the two pieces in the middle.
Heat the butter until it melts and set aside to cool. Brush the phyllo with the butter and sprinkle with 1/6th of the almond mixture. Make into a roll starting from the narrow side and then twist.
Brush a 26 cm baking tin with butter and place the twisted roll in the centre of the baking dish, forming a coil. Continue with the remaining 5 pieces. When done, brush the top with butter.
Preheat oven at 180o C / 350o F and bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown.
As soon as you remove it from the oven add the syrup and cover it with a clean napkin until the syrup is absorbed.
Allow to cool before serving.