When I think of a cheesy pie, I imagine something dense and, well, super cheesy. This pie defies my preconceptions!
The main cheese is mild ricotta, with some Swiss cheese and Parmesan for extra oomph. With flaky phyllo dough and plenty of eggs in the mix, the pie turns out to be light and delicate.
Made with canned artichokes, this pie is easy to make: layers of crisp and buttery phyllo, artichokes, a burst of bright lemon zest, and fresh parsley. It’s a vision to behold. Serve it with a big salad or steamed asparagus and some crusty bread.
WHAT’S THE BEST CHEESE FOR CHEESE PIE?
Ricotta is what really lights up this pie, but it is a little bland by itself. Whole milk ricotta is the creamiest and best to use in the recipe. If you want to exchange the Swiss cheese for another one, any buttery, nutty cheese is a good choice, but keep the Parmesan!
Swap out the Swiss if you please with any of these:
WHAT ARTICHOKES TO USE?
If you are ambitious, you could cook whole artichokes and cut the heart into pieces (oh dear, that sounds a little sad). Anyway, using canned or defrosted frozen artichoke hearts is probably more realistic unless you are hankering for a project.
Both are delicious in the pie, and the canned ones, packed in oil or water, may be the easiest to find. If you’re not an artichoke fan, cooked broccoli florets or cooked asparagus spears cut into pieces would make fine substitutes. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups.
WHAT IS PHYLLO?
Phyllo dough (also called “filo”) is made of tissue-thin sheets of wheat dough and is popular in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. The sheets, brushed with olive oil or butter, stacked in layers and baked, form a delightfully rich, crisp, and buttery pastry. The most common examples are spanakopita and baklava, but it has many more uses.
You will find phyllo in your grocery freezer section, along with other pie dough and puff pastry (which is not the same thing!). The most prevalent size of the sheets is 14 x 18 inches, but any size in that neighborhood will work well. I used this brand, but have also found other similar brands depending on where I shop.
To defrost phyllo, leave it in its package in the refrigerator the night before you’re going to use it. To prevent it from becoming dry and brittle, use the phyllo within 24 hours of defrosting it.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH PHYLLO
Phyllo can be a little glitchy to work with. Each paper-thin sheet must be brushed with melted butter and layered in a baking dish. Work quickly, and if you are going to walk away for more than a few minutes, be sure to cover it with a lightly dampened dishtowel.
- Place the stack of phyllo next to the baking dish and brush the top layer with butter.
- If you need to pause at any point, cover the stack with a lightly dampened dishtowel, but don’t leave it there too long or the dough will dry out.
- Don’t worry too much about a few cracks here and there. There’s going to be another layer to cover them!
- Most one-pound packages have around 18 sheets.
- You can refreeze the unused dough. Wrap it in several layers of plastic and freeze.
- Defrost in the fridge, covered with a damp cloth while it is defrosting.
TO MAKE AHEAD, STORE, AND FREEZE ARTICHOKE PIE
You can assemble this pie ahead of time. Cover it tightly with foil and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking.
To freeze an unbaked pie: Brush the top layer with butter and wrap it well in plastic then in foil. It can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to cook, unwrap the pie, brush with more butter, and place the frozen pie in the oven on a baking sheet. It should take from 10 to 20 minutes longer to bake than a freshly made pie.
Once baked, leftover pie will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator. Reheat it in the oven at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot all the way through.
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