Tina’s Kreatopita Tirnavou

Our first recipe for the Meri Month of May 2023 and the Greek Pie Drive, is a Kreatopita (meat pie) from the region of Tirnavo in Thessalia, Greece. This recipe was shared with me by Tina @tinaseretislaftsis, a beautiful and very creative Kali Orexi fillo student, who learned the recipe from her mother-in-law Maria, who emanates from Tirnavo.
This pita is traditionally made and eaten on New Year’s Day as a Vasilopita. Cold and snowy New Year’s Days call for hearty fare! A coin and a toothpick are added to the kreatopita filling. The coin will bring luck to whoever finds it in their piece and the toothpick (a “piece of wood”) is added to keep the home and all of its occupants strong throughout the New Year.
In the original recipe, Tina sweats the onions first before adding the pork neck pieces. In the version I share here, I brown the pork neck pieces and set them aside, before sauteeing the onions in the pan juices and then returning the meat to the pan. The choice is yours! Either way the kreatopita is luscious and delicious with tender morsels of meat, surrounded by sweet, juicy onions with spicy peppercorn bursts, all wrapped in crispy fillo. This is a textural and flavour sensation.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the spicy bursts of flavour the whole peppercorns give in this pita, but my children prefer a more diffuse pepper flavour. If you are the same, may I suggest you replace the 2 tablespoons of whole peppercorns with 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper.
Notes from Tina: You can substitute the pork with beef or chicken. You can cut the onions more coarsely – cut the onions in half and each half into quarters or fifths.

Tina’s Kreatopita Tirnavou

Course Appetizer, dinner, entree, grazing, greek pie, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek
Keyword apple pie, fillo pastry, greek meat pie, greek pies


For the dough you will need…

  • 250 g plain flour/all-purpose flour 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) 
  • 10 ml white vinegar 
  • cup warm tap water, approximately (see dough making instructions) 

For the dusting mixture you will need… 

  • 250 g plain flour/all-purpose flour 
  • 75 g cornflour/cornstarch 

For the filling you will need… 

  • 1 kg brown onions sliced (cut the onions in half and slice each half lengthways 10-12 times) 
  • 1 kg pork neck, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • tsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns  
  • 750 ml water 
  • ½ cup burghul 


Making the dough…

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl 

  2. Add the olive oil and vinegar and rub it into the flour 

  3. Add half a cup of warm water and combine with the flour to form a dough 

  4. There will be unincorporated flour in your bowl - add a small amount of water at a time and mix into the dough and remaining flour - keep doing this until all the flour combines with the dough – the dough should be soft and pliable 

  5. Turn the dough onto your work surface and knead it for 1-2 minutes 

  6. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and leave it to rest at room temperature for 2 hours 

Preparing the ‘flour - corn flour’ dusting mixture  

  1. Combine the plain flour with the corn flour well - this ‘flour - corn flour’ mixture is used to dust the fillo whenever it gets a little tacky, as you are rolling it out 

Preparing the filling 

  1. In a large pot heat the EVOO on medium-high 

  2. Add a single layer of pork pieces to the pot 

  3. Brown the pork pieces on both sides, before setting them aside on a plate 

  4. Repeat till all pork pieces are browned 

  5. Add the onions to the pot 

  6. Sauté till the onions soften and brown a little 

  7. Return the meat to the pot 

  8. Add the salt, peppercorns and water to the pot 

  9. Mix well and ensure all the meat pieces are immersed in the stock 

  10. Simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours, until the meat softens and most of the stock has reduced 

  11. Add the burghul and cook till the stock thickens and hardly any juices remain 

Making the fillo pastry 

  1. After the dough has rested, divide it into 5 portions – 2 x 100g, 1 x 85g and 2 x 60g 

  2. Roll the portions into balls and place on your work surface and cover with the damp towel 

  3. Take a large pinch of the dusting flour and place it in the centre of your work area 

  4. Take one of the 100g balls of dough and roll it into an even, rounded sphere between the palms of your hands. Flatten the sphere between the palms of your hands, so it forms a small, round disc. Place the disc on the dusting flour on your work surface. Turn the disc over so both sides are coated well with the dusting flour. Using a plastri, roll out the disc one way and then the other, so it forms a larger disc of approximately 15cm in diameter.  

  5. Wrap the fillo snugly around the centre of the rolling pin, leaving a small section of the disc unwrapped (like a little tongue hanging out). Then, starting with both hands in the middle of the rolling pin, press down lightly on the fillo while simultaneously moving your hands away from each other. You can use your fingers or the palms of your hands or the junction between your fingers and palms to lightly and evenly press down on the fillo as you move your hands away from each other. Repeat this action of gently pressing down while moving your hands towards the outer edges of the fillo 3-4 times.  

  6. With the fillo still wrapped around the rolling pin, raise the rolling pin slightly into the air, rotate it 45 degrees anticlockwise or clockwise, then lower it and unravel the fillo sheet onto your work surface.  

  7. Wrap your fillo sheet snuggly onto the rolling pin again, remembering to leave a small section unwrapped.  

  8. Again, starting with both hands in the middle of the rolling pin, press the fillo lightly with your fingers and/or palms, while moving your hands away from each other – repeating this pressing/outward-moving action 3-4 times.  

  9. Continue to perform the last two actions until your fillo sheet is about 40cm in diameter.  

  10. If/when the fillo becomes tacky as you roll it out, dust it with the dusting flour. As you reach the desired fillo diameter of 40cm, make sure most of the dusting mixture has been absorbed by the fillo sheet. 

  11. Generously oil the base of a round 30cm diameter pan and drape the fillo sheet across the pan and over the edges of the pan. Tuck the fillo sheet into the edges of the pan. Drizzle the fillo sheet with olive oil. 

  12. Roll out a second fillo sheet from a 100g dough ball to approximately 40cm in diameter. Drape that across the pan and over the edges of the pan too. Drizzle the fillo sheet with olive oil. 

  13. Roll out a third fillo sheet from the 85g dough ball to approximately 35cm diameter and place it completely inside the pan. Draw this fillo sheet up the sides of the pan and press its edges against the upper rim of the pan (on top of fillo sheets 1 and 2). Drizzle the fillo sheet with olive oil. 

  14. Roll out a fourth sheet of fillo from a 60g dough ball to approximately 30cm diameter, place it completely within the pan and drizzle it with oil. 

  15. Roll out a fifth fillo sheet from a 60g dough ball to approximately 30cm diameter, place it completely within the pan and drizzle it with oil. 

Making the kreatopita 

  1. Pour the filling into the pan and spread it evenly across the pan 

  2. Baste both layers of the overhanging fillo with EVOO, twist to form a braid and lay the braid on the filling 

  3. Loosely, but completely cover the pan with a sheet of foil 

  4. Bake the kreatopita in an oven preheated to 180ºC for 1 hour 

  5. Shape the foil sheet into a circle that only covers the filling and lay that centrally on the pita 

  6. Bake for a further 10 minutes, till the fillo browns  

Serving the Kreatopita 

  1. Enjoy the kreatopita warm from the oven! 

  2. Kali Orexi! 

Key Points

Key points 

  • You can substitute the pork with beef, lamb or chicken 
  • You can cut the onions more coarsely - cut the onions in half and each half into quarters or fifths 
  • The fillo-pastry rolling pin is curtain dowel, which can be purchased from most timber/hardware stores. It is 16mm in diameter and 90cm long. Sand it back to smooth the surface of the dowel and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth. 
  • If the fillo tears a little, don’t worry, there will be many layers, one upon the other, and you won't notice any of these holes in the finished dish. You can always pinch the edges of the hole together to repair them. If you are getting holes in your fillo, it just means you need to dust your fillo with more of the dusting mixture. 
  • It is very important not to skimp on the oil in this recipe, otherwise your fillo won’t bake or brown properly! 
  • Time your fillo making so the filling is ready to add to the pan after you have rolled out your 5th fillo sheet 
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