How to Make Joyce Goldstein's Passover Cheese Pie

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By Anna Painter Posted April 22, 2016

This simple, cheese-stuffed pie recipe adapted from Joyce Goldstein's The New Mediterranean Jewish Table is perfect for Passover.

Joyce Goldstein's culinary resume is long and impressive: Cookbook author, owner and chef of Square One in San Francisco for 12 years, James Beard Award winner, founder and director of the California Street Cooking School, and food writer, to name just a few.

Goldstein's most recent book, The New Mediterranean Jewish Table (University of California Press) is an authoritative guide to Jewish home cooking from the Middle East, North Africa, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey. One of our Food & Wine Test Kitchen favorites from the book is Goldstein's Passover Cheese Pie from Chania.

This simple, cheese-stuffed pie recipe adapted from Joyce Goldstein's The New Mediterranean Jewish Table is perfect for Passover. Goldstein's recipe calls for olive oil for brushing the layers, but we loved it with melted butter too.

Passover Cheese Pie from Chania

Active: 20 min; Tota:l 1 hr

Serves 8 to 10

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 lb. mizithra cheese, grated (see note)

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

½ cup chopped dill

¼ cup chopped mint

6 large eggs, separated

Kosher salt

8 unsalted matzos

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking pan generously with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, stir the mizithra with the ricotta, dill and mint until well combined. In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, whip the egg yolks at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Fold the yolks into the cheese mixture until no streaks of yellow remain. In a clean bowl, using cleaned beaters, whip the egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Season with salt.
  3. Soak 4 pieces of the matzo in warm water until barely soft, 2 minutes. Lift the matzos out of the water and place the matzos side by side on the bottom of the prepared pan and pat dry. Brush the matzos with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Spread the cheese mixture over the matzo layer and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Soak the remaining 4 matzos until barely soft, 2 minutes, lift out of the water and arrange in an even layer over the cheese mixture. Pat the matzos dry. Brush with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Bake the cheese pie for 40 minutes, until the top layer of matzo is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: If mizithra cheese is unavailable, Joyce Goldstein recommends using 8 ounces each of crumbled feta and grated Parmigiano or 8 ounces each of crumbled feta and coarsely grated Monterey Jack or Gruyere cheese.

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