Honey and cheese is almost all you need for a delicious Melopita — Greek Honey Pie.
Melopita is a traditional honey pie/cake from the island of Sifnos in the Southern Aegean. The base of it is fresh anthotyro cheese (you can use ricotta) which you mix up with aromatic honey and eggs. Once you pull it out of the oven you can spread more honey on top and dust it with cinnamon. I was going to make an apple compote to go with it, but the pie is already sweet enough and does need much to accompany it. Additionally, you can also garnish it with tangy pomegranate seeds like the photo, or even some fresh berries. I’ve been baking this recipe a lot lately with delicious results. One of my Los Angeles personal chef clients requested it for their Rosh Hashanah dinner, which made a lovely addition to the menu.
Melopita recipe origins
The first time I made Melopita was on Narlis Farm in Sifnos this summer. For that recipe, George the ower of the farm, who taught the class made this fresh cheese from goats’ milk. We even got to meet the goats that day. My recipe is based on what we made. It’s just too bad I don’t have fresh goat’s milk on hand to make my own cheese!
Quality of cheese makes a difference
Since fresh anthotyro or mizithra cheese is not (to my knowledge) widely available outside of Greece, the type/quality of the cheese you use in the recipe will make a difference. These cheeses (for the purpose of this recipe) are pretty much the Greek equivalent of ricotta. But, I’ve tested this recipe extensively with whole milk ricotta from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and it works as outlined here.
However, don’t use part skim ricotta as its gritty and doesn’t hold well. If you want to get a little more spendy, try a higher end basket ricotta. You should be able to find that at an Italian market. I’ve seen them at Eataly. The most widely available (at least in California) would be Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Basket Ricotta, which I absolutely love. I have not tested that with this recipe, however. You could also try a farmers cheese. But I haven’t tested this recipe with that; if you do, let me know.
Indicators that the Melopita is done
As you embark on making the Melopita, you’ll find it’s a super easy recipe to make. Basically, mix everything together, turn it out into the baking pan, and bake. Just make sure that the pie gets brown all over and is set in the middle. Keep in mind, everyone’s oven is different so it’s hard to estimate exact times. As a result, this is definitely a time to use your senses. You will smell it and notice the color.