Are you up to try the best, most crunchy sweet pie ever? Rizopita which in Greek means rice pie is a truly scrumptious filo pie. Filled with layers of sticky rice pudding. As well as crunchy, finely ground nuts, and plenty of spices in between its many filo layers.
In Greece, Rizopita can be either a sweet pie or a savory one (will upload a recipe for that one also). It’s a very old-fashioned type of pie. Going back to times where people cooked very filling foods on a minimal budget. Even though originally this pie was made with homemade filo, I preferred using filo pastry for this rice pie recipe. Because it’s much crispier than homemade. And also I don’t like desserts being too heavy. Homemade filo is best for the savory version of Greek rice pie.
What Rizopita Tastes Like
Just by starting to describe it, it makes my mouth water. So, this pie tastes like a Baklava and a rice pudding together. Aha, that good. It has the crispiness from the filo, together with the crunchiness of the nuts. The same nuts that are used in making Baklava, walnuts, and almonds. The nuts are finely ground and mixed together with sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and sprinkled sparingly in between the many filo layers of this pie.
As for the rice pudding filling it’s creamy and very sticky and added in two layers inside the pie. So the pie stays nice and firm holding its shape nicely.
How To Make The Rice Pudding Pie
Before I begin to tell you about each step of the process, there are two things I want you to keep in mind when making this pie.
- About the filo: Filo needs to be greased with either oil or butter well in order to get really crispy. In this recipe we are using butter. So make sure you brush each filo sheet with butter. In case you run out of butter add a splash or two of sunflower or corn oil (or any other vegetable oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor) to the bowl or saucepan you had the melted butter. Scrape any of its remnants with the pastry brush and use this to brush the filo with. Though the amount of butter used in this recipe is plenty for this pie. But I’m mentioning it just in case.
- About the rice pudding filling: You need to slowly cook the rice together with the milk without letting it get to any more then a very low simmer. So keep the heat to lowest and give it enough time to absorb all the milk and get really sticky. The filling shouldn’t be runny at all. And because of that it should be used while it is still warm (not hot). Otherwise it will be a bit difficult to spread it over the filo.
To make the Rice Pudding Pie…
First, prepare the nuts by finely chopping them in a blender adding the spices in as well. Then keep them in a bowl mixed together with the sugar. Sugar is used both to add sweetness to the pie and also gives extra crunchiness to the pie.
Second, prepare the rice pudding filling for the pie. Add in a cooking pot the milk, arborio rice, a stick of cinnamon, a bit of sugar, and some vanilla extract to flavor it. Gentle simmer over low heat until the rice gets completely soft and feels like it starts to stick at the bottom. You will need to stir occasionally towards the last few minutes until you have a thick and very sticky rice pudding. You can then remove the pot from the heat and partially cover it with the lid of the pot. In order to keep warm and leave space for the steam to escape.
And third, assemble the pie as shown in the pictures below.
To create the pie base, you need to place 4 filo sheets in the pan creating a cross shape. To do this you place each filo sheet so half of it covers the bottom of the baking dish/pan and half of it hangs out of it. This is done to secure the rice filling inside the pie by covering all 4 edges of the baking dish or pan.
You may then cut the filo stack in half. So each filo sheet fits (almost) exactly into the baking dish/pan. As shown in picture 4 above.
Then you assemble the pie by following this pattern: add 3 half filo sheets and fit them into the baking dish/pan. Fold them a bit on one edge to fit if needed. And always brush each one with melted butter. Then you sprinkle evenly on top 6 tablespoons of the ground nuts-sugar-spices mixture. And repeat this pattern (3 half filo sheets, 6 tablespoons nut mixture) until you use up all of the filo.
As for the rice pudding filling, it is divided in half and added in between all the layers.
To create the pie top, overlap and fold on top the filo that hangs out of the pan (picture 7, 8 above). Make sure you keep the last 6 half filo sheets from the stack, to add on top of the folded filo. In order to give the top of the pie a smooth, beatiful finish. Brush with butter, divide into pieces, drizzle with water and bake!
Why So Many Layers?
It’s what makes this pie so very crunchy!
Cutting And Serving
Because this pie is so crunchy you need to cut it all the way through before you bake it. Otherwise, the filo will go to pieces if you try to cut it after it’s baked. As for serving it, it is better to eat this pie the day it is baked. As the filo will get soft on the next day and loose its crispness. Which always happens with filo. Though the flavor of the pie and the cruncy nuts inside make up for this even on the next day.
So store in the fridge and reheat if needed (inside the pan it was baked) covered with foil in the oven at a temperature of 150°C / 302°F. Or each piece individually in the microwave, preferably uncovered so the steam won’t soften the the filo even further.
Rizopita – Rice Pudding Pie With Filo
For The Rice Pie Filling:
- 300 grams (1 + ½ cup) arborio rice
- 1 liter milk
- 100 grams (½ cup) sugar
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Pie:
- 1 package (450 grams) filo pastry unfreeze in the fridge overnight
- 250 grams (1 cup + 2 tbsp) butter melted
- 100 grams (¾ cup) walnuts
- 100 grams (¾ cup) almonds
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 300 grams (1 + ½ cup) sugar
For The Rice Pudding Filling:
- Add all of the ingredients for the filling in a medium-sized cooking pot along with 500 ml water. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Heat mixture over high heat. Wait until it becomes steamy hot just before it starts to boil and then drop the heat to low.
- Simmer partly covered for about 45 minutes until the rice absorbs all of the liquid in the pot and becomes very sticky. Keep an eye towards the last minutes, stirring occasionally so it won't stick to the bottom of the pot.
For The Pie:
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Add walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, in a blender and blend until nuts look finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the sugar.
- Remove filo from its package and lay it open on your working surface.
- With a pastry brush, grease a 32×25 baking dish or pan with melted butter. Brush both the bottom as well as the sides of the pan.
- Take one filo sheet and place it in the pan so half of the filo covers the bottom of the pan and the other half of it hangs out of the pan. Brush with butter here and there. Add 3 more filo sheets the same way (creating a cross) to cover the walls of the pan all around and brush each one with butter as well.
- Then with a sharp knife cut the remaining filo stack in half. Now each filo sheet is going to fit in the pan. Cover the stack with a tea towel so it won't air-dry.
- Sprinkle the filo in the pan with 6 tablespoons of the sugar and ground nuts mixture.
- Take another filo sheet from the stack and add it to the pan. If it's slightly bigger simply fold one edge inwards to fit. Brush with butter.
- Add another filo sheet the same way and brush it with butter.
- Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the nut and sugar mixture on top.
- Then add half of the rice pudding filling. And spread it evenly all over.
- Add 3 more filo sheets on top of the filling brushing each one with butter.
- Again sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the sugar and nuts mix.
- Then repeat adding: 3 more filo sheets, 6 tablespoons of sugar and nuts, and then add the remaining half of the rice pudding filling on top.
- Add 3 more filo sheets, 6 tablespoons sugar and nuts, 3 filo sheets, and the last 6 tablespoons of the sugar and nuts.
- There should be only 6 filo sheets left now. If they're less it's okay. Some packages have 1 filo sheet less or more.
- At this point fold on top of the pie the filo that hangs out of the pan. Brushing it with butter well, so it sticks together nicely.
- Now add the last filo sheets on top brushing each one with butter.
- Cut and divide the pie into 12 square pieces. Cutting it all the way through to the bottom. Sprinkle (more like spraying) the top of the filo with a tiny bit of water.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Until it gets deep golden on top. Shake the pan or baking dish to see if the pie moves in it. That means it's nicely baked at the bottom as well. Let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.
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