Greek Honey Ricotta Pie (Melopita)
This Greek honey ricotta pie (melopita) is made up of a simple, light and fluffy filling with a texture between a cheesecake and a baked custard. It’s traditionally made crust less but I decided to make it into a pie as I love my honey pies. Making it into a pie gives it extra texture in each bite with its buttery crisp crust. Its golden brown out the oven and served with extra honey spread on top and dusted with cinnamon.
What Is Melopita?
The word “melopita” basically translates as honey pie. Because this pie is sweetened with honey and then served with honey, it’s good to choose a wild blossom honey which has a richer flavour and adds so much more to this pie. Feel free to use an infused one with this pie too if you have one you love like a lavender or citrus infused one. Choose one with a strong flavor that you like. I love serving mine with some honey comb over it. Not only does it help identify what kind of pie it is but it’s an extra treat to enjoy with the pie. Although this is called a honey pie in Greek, its does feature cheese in it. The original recipe calls for anthotyro which is a soft, ricotta like cheese. Many other versions use a soft myzithra/mizithra cheese too. An easy substitute and one I often use is fresh ricotta. The filling will be as good as your ricotta is so make sure to choose a creamy rich ricotta to go into this pie.
When it comes to the original recipe for this honey ricotta pie, it’s naturally gluten free. I wanted to keep it that way when making it into a pie so I made a simple gluten free pie crust for it. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for the crust which is a straight 1-1 swap for all purpose flour. It’s a special 1-to-1 blend of gluten free flours,starches and xanthan gum. Perfect for quick breads like cookies, brownies and cakes and pies. I took my favorite basic pie dough recipe and literally substituted the all purpose flour with Bob’s GF 1-1 one.
The only difference when it comes to this GF pie dough is that you roll it out right after you make it. When I use all purpose flour I allow the dough to rest or fully hydrate in the fridge overnight. This particular dough behaves a little better or is a bit easier to roll out if done immediately. It rolls out quiet easily and nicely. Once I roll it out I fit it in my pie plate and crimp it and then I allow it to rest for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge before I bake it. It’s the perfect pie dough if you are looking for a gluten free alternative. It’s great for pies and also great for galettes or to top savoury pot pies with. It makes 2 pie dough discs, so I usually freeze one for another pie or galette.
Melopita/ Honey Ricotta Pie Ingredients
- Pie Crust: use homemade easy all butter pie dough recipe or my gf pie dough recipe below that yields 2 pie doughs (freeze the second for later use) or use store-bought
- Honey: Use whatever honey you have on hand but recommend you use one you love the flavour of and a good quality one for best flavour - and if you use a flavoured one the flavour will translate into the pie as well
- Ricotta: Whole milk ricotta is what I recommend
- Eggs: Make sure they are room temperature - they help firm up the filling and add richness to it too
- Lemon Juice: freshly squeezed is best and for more lemony flavour please add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- Vanilla: Use vanilla extract for the best flavor. Alternatively, half a teaspoon of vanilla paste or a scraped vanilla bean are both good substitutes. Vanilla essence won’t provide the same flavor.
- Cinnamon: the fragrance of ground cinnamon can’t be matched and it pairs wonderfully with ricotta. You’ll just use a little so that it doesn’t dominate.
- Corn Strach: Will help firm up and thicken the filling
How To Make Melopita
- Prepare PIE DOUGH: make dough or unroll store-bought dough and roll out so its a couple inches larger than your pie dish - place into pie pan and fold edges and crimp - place piece of parchment paper in crust and pie weights or beans and bake for 10-15 min - remove from oven and remove pie weights and place on cooling rack while preparing the filling (if you prefer to bake your crust again after the pie weights have been removed, do so for another 5 min or so)
- Prepare FILLING: Beat the eggs and honey until well combined followed by the vanilla, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and ricotta until smooth and combined
- ASSEMBLE Pie: Pour filling into par baked pie crust
- BAKE Pie: REDUCE oven temperature and place pie in the oven and bake until golden and filling is just set - a little wiggle in the middle is fine
- COOL Pie: Cool on wire rack until pie reaches room temperature then slice and serve with drizzles of honey and dusting of cinnamon
Can I Make This Melopita CRUSTLESS?
Yes - prepare filling as stated in recipe. Grease an 8 inch spring from pan well and place onto a baking sheet. Pour filling in pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 min or until set. Allow to cool in pan 10 min then remove collar (you may have to run a sharp knife along the edges) and allow to cool completely
This is a traditional Greek honey pie with a twist on the pie part. It’s only slightly different than the original recipe that hails from the island of Sifno but it’s just as delicious over a buttery flaky crust. It’s just the right sweetness if you are like me and prefer desserts that are more mildly sweet. We loved this light and creamy pie - now if only we can be transported to a Greek island…
More Ricotta Recipes You Will Love:
- You Will Need 1 pie crust ( store bought or my homemade easy all butter pie dough GF option below)
For a Gluten Free Pie Crust (makes 2)
- 2½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour plus more for workspace
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional; can be omitted for savory crusts)
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted, butter cubed
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ to ¾ cup cold water or milk
- 1 egg for egg wash
For the filling
- 2 cup (600 grams) soft myzithra cheese (or ricotta cheese), strained if in water
- ½ cup honey (150 grams) (wild blossom preferably)
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon corn flour/corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Extra honey and cinnamon to garnish before serving (I decorated mine with honey comb)
For the GF pie crust
- Place flour, and sugar, in a food processor and pulse to combine
- Add the cold butter over the flour and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly with larger, pea-sized chunks of butter.
- Drizzle apple cider vinegar in along with only ½ of the water. Pulse a few times or until dough mixture starts to come together and looks shaggy. Give the dough a pinch - if it sticks together, it’s ready. If not, drizzle in more water 1 tbsp at a time. You shouldn’t need to exceed the remaining ¼ cup.
- Empty dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form each into a flat disk. (Wrap one tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze until you need a pie crust, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.)
- Using wax or parchment paper, place one dough disc onto one sheet, flatten with palm, place another sheet on top and roll out to the desired size. Remove the top sheet and invert into pie pan/pie dish peeling the second piece off after.
- Prick the bottom of pie with a fork a few times then refrigerate 30-60 min. (Or you can cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight night or if wrapped well it can be frozen in the pie plate for up to 3 months. I usually refrigerate it first for 1 hour so that it’s stiff enough not to damage while wrapping it for the freezer.)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Place a piece of parchment paper or foil into pie plate over dough and fill with pie weights
- BAKE PIE CRUST (par bake) at 400°F for 10 minutes then remove and brush the bottom and edges of crust with egg wash. And allow to cool while you make your filling.
For the filling
- Place eggs and honey in a large bowl and blend well with a whisk or and electric mixer with a whisk attachment until pale in colour and fully.
- Then mix in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, corn starch and cinnamon. Add the ricotta and mix until smooth.
- REDUCE oven temperature to 350°F Pour filling into pie crust and carefully transfer to oven and bake for an additional 25 - 35 minutes or until the filling is just set and middle of it still has a bit of jiggle. The top will be deeply golden. (Make sure to cover edges with foil or use a pie crust shield if edges are getting to golden)
- Allow to cool completely on rack before slicing and serving 1-2 hours. Serve with a generous amount of extra honey and dusting of cinnamon. Leftovers can be wrapped and refrigerated for a few days.
- If the GF dough has been in the fridge for several hours, let it sit at room temperature until softened. If the dough immediately starts to crack once you start rolling, it’s too cold—give it a few more minutes to warm up. If the edges crack as you roll simply patch them as needed.
- To blind bake a single pie crust: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Line the crust with a large piece of parchment paper then pour in dried beans or pie weights to completely cover the bottom. Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans. Bake 5-10 minutes longer, or until light golden on the bottom. The crust can be blind baked up to 1 day in advance.
- This filling is mildly spiced. Feel free to increase the amount of vanilla extract or cinnamon in it according to taste. Or I will also often times add a shot of brandy for extra flavour.
- Is Ricotta Pie served cold? I prefer to serve this ricotta cheese pie completely chilled rather than at room temperature. It will cut more cleanly and hold better when chilled.
- Does Ricotta Pie need to be refrigerated? Yes it does as it contains dairy. Ricotta can spoil quickly at room temperature. Once cooled, keep the pie chilled until you’re ready to serve.
- How long is Ricotta Pie good for? This pie will be good for up to 3-5 days but for best flavour and texture I recommend enjoying it within the first 1-2 days. Be sure to keep it well covered and refrigerated.
- Can Ricotta Pie be frozen? It probably can but I never have - it never lasts very long in our household!! Freezing may change the texture but it would still be a good way to save leftovers that you can’t eat within 5 days. Wrap well in plastic and place into a sealable container. Freeze for up to 3 months.