2000s Recipes + Menus

Sweet Cheese Phyllo Squares

  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr (includes cooling)
February 2009
A loose riff on the Greek cheese pie known as myzithropita, this recipe uses ricotta, eggs, and sugar to emulate its taste and texture. Golden raisins and lemon zest make welcome additions to the subtly sweet filling. Whenever you have leftover phyllo (say, from Mushroom Strudel), some of the remaining sheets will dry out or break, but don’t worry—you will only need 12 sheets total. If you use more than that, the layers will not crisp up enough.
  • 2 lb whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 12 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by-9-inch baking pan.
  • Whisk together ricotta, eggs, confectioners sugar, zest, vanilla, and salt. Stir in raisins.
  • Keep stack of phyllo covered with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap. Lay 2 sheets of phyllo in bottom of baking pan, then brush top sheet generously with butter and fold in edges to fit into pan. Sprinkle lightly with one third of bread crumbs. Make 2 more layers in same manner (6 sheets total). Spread ricotta mixture over phyllo in pan. Top with a sheet of phyllo, then fold in edges to fit into pan and brush with butter. Repeat with remaining 5 sheets. (For a neater appearance, fold edges of last sheet under.)
  • Cut into 12 squares through top layers of phyllo only with a sharp knife and bake until golden, puffed, and firm to the touch, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cooks’ note: Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.
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