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Manitaropita is a Greek dish which is made by stuffing phyllo dough with mushrooms and cheese and folding it into a small triangle. Manitaropita is one of a family of Greek foods called meze, small dishes which are traditionally offered as appetizers. These foods are often found at casual bars and cafes, and they also turn up at parties and other social gatherings as snack food for the 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. More ambitious cooks can make their own.
Greek cuisine includes a number of dishes which are made from phyllo dough and various fillings. One of the most famous is probably spanakopita, a dish made with spinach, cheese, and phyllo dough. However, it is also possible to find kreatopita, small phyllo triangles stuffed with lamb's meat, and thalassopita, which are stuffed with seafood. Essentially, the cook's imagination is the only limit when making stuffed phyllo meze.
The mushrooms used in manitaropita vary. A mixture of mushrooms is often preferable, 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 mixture. Classically, the cheese of choice is kefalograviera, a sheeps' milk hard cheese, although a range of other hard and soft cheeses like feta and kefalotiri can be used as well.
The mushrooms are cooked before being blended with the cheese; typically they are cooked with onions and spices and then the cheese is grated or broken up so that the mushrooms can be mixed in. For a more custardy filling, cooks can mix in an egg or two, depending on the overall volume of the filling; cooks do not want the filling to be too moist, as it can tear through the phyllo dough as it is handled.
When manitaropitas are made, cooks typically 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 a rectangle before the cook folds the phyllo up into a triangle and brushes it with butter. Most cooks fold several more rectangles around the first one, creating a flaky, layered triangle which will form crisp, crackling layers as it bakes. Cooks can also make a tiropita assortment; a mixture of phyllo triangles filled with various things which includes manitaropita and kreatopita along with fillings of the cook's own invention.
After baking, the manitaropitas can be served hot as appetizers, or used cold as snacks. They are almost like little pocket sandwiches; if well wrapped, they can be carried out on hikes and trips as a picnic lunch. They can also make good midnight snacks after a busy party.
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