Time travel with just one bite

Please don’t click that red x at the upper right corner of the page or navigate away from my cheese tarts.  I implore you to give my “rustic” tarts a fair chance.

It may not be much to look at but these seemingly simple creations have lived in my mind for the past 17 years.   My desire to recreate those moments of bliss that I experienced as a child has lived on in me, and has driven me to make these Cheese pies.

There was one place in Georgetown that I know of that made these delectable savor pastries and that was Arapaima, a pastry shop practically next door to Sacred Heart Primary School.  I attended that school in the early 90s and spent many lunch breaks at Arapaima.  As its name suggests, it was named after a fresh water fish found in South America.  As you enter the  doors you were greeted with a nautical theme, nets made of rope draped and wheels of ships adorned the walls.

How is it that after so many years I have such a distinct memory of a place that I’ve visited as a child?  I believe it’s because that’s the moment that my love affair with food began.  These are my earliest memories of paying attention to how food tastes, and to not just eat but have an experience.

After migrating to the US, I always had a yearning for these pies but just didn’t know where to find it or how to make it, until one day!  I had the good fortune of tasting something called “quiche”.   My heart soared, could it be??  It most certainly was a form of the “cheese pies” that I longed for.

I kept this recipe fairly simple, because that’s what the cheese pies were, a creamy, cheesy custard with a hint of pepper and scallion encased in a flaky pastry crust.    I found a recipe for pastry on Allrecipes.com but modified it a bit buy using half butter and half shortening because everything is better with butter.



Cheese Pie

Pastry

1 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cold

1/4 cup shortening

3 tbsp ice cold water

Filling

1 cup evaporated milk

1 egg

2 tbsp flour

1 1/4- 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 scallion, green parts only finely chopped

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

cayenne pepper to sprinkle of top (optional)

To make Pastry:

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter and shortening into flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add 3 tbsp of water and mix until well combined.  Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins before using.

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl, mix flour with egg, mix until well combined and smooth.  Whisk in milk, then add all other ingredients, except cayenne pepper and stir.  Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 1/8 inch thickness, in other words, pretty thin.   I used bowl about 6 inches in diameter  to cut out the circles. Line muffin pan with pastry, lightly press.  If the pastry becomes too soft, making it difficult to roll, place it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill.

Bake crust for 5 mins, then remove from oven and spoon filling into the crust.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 15-20 mins.   The tops should puff up when they are done.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating..if only I could have waited that long.



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28 Comments

  1. July 15, 2010 / 4:42 pm

    I do remember Arapaima and I went to Sacred Heart School and was a parishioner at the Church as well. I knew Aparpaima back in the day when it sold strictly chicken and chips and then later it started to sell pastries as they sectioned off the place. Cheese tarts are always a delight.

  2. July 16, 2010 / 11:42 am

    My first few months in Guyana, I had no idea what they called this. I assumed it was a mini quiche, but most bakeries stared blankly at me if I used the word quiche. Then some called it cheese pie, some called it egg pie (the latter probably signals a cheese-deficiency!)…I try them everywhere I go 🙂 but I just point now.

  3. July 18, 2010 / 10:53 pm

    Roar. First photo I see and my heart almost screamed cheese! I just love cheese. I think im gonna snatch your recipe and make some 😀 I wanna share this post to my friends in Foodista . If you don’t mind adding the foodista widget for shortening, then that would be great! 🙂 Hope you keep on posting

    Cheers,
    Amy from Adelaide, Australia

  4. Nalini
    July 22, 2010 / 7:37 am

    I am planing to try these soon. Just one question….I was thinking of making these to take to a friend’s dinner party. She lives 4 hours from me. Which method of warming these up is better when I get to her house, an oven or microwave? Or can they be served as is?

  5. July 22, 2010 / 10:25 am

    These will make great finger food for my next party. Even better, my girlfriend LOVES cheese! :-p

  6. JehanP
    July 22, 2010 / 10:33 am

    These are great served warm or at room temperature. If you must warm them up, using an oven will give you the best results.

  7. Christina
    October 20, 2010 / 6:37 am

    My husband is from Guyana, so I wanted to make him something nice. It came out so good. It was the first time I have ever made pastry from scratch! Thank you for the wonderful recipes…plus my husband said it reminded him of Guyana!

    Thanks again…Christina from Canada

  8. Debra
    October 25, 2010 / 6:56 pm

    Jehan

    How many pies can be made for the amount of flour?

  9. JehanP
    October 26, 2010 / 9:40 am

    I had enough dough for one pie.

  10. Lanzie
    December 28, 2010 / 12:41 am

    Jehan you give me hope for all things Guyanese recipe!! I visit this page ever week religiously and I’m soo caught up with the recipes and food that I never noticed a comment section. I am so happy and thankful for your site…… continue the good work, you are an inspiration to me!

  11. Lanzie
    December 28, 2010 / 2:50 am

    Can I use regular milk instead? will that skew the taste or mess up the entire recipe??

  12. JehanP
    December 28, 2010 / 7:45 am

    Awww, thank you Lanzie, that’s so sweet of you! My readers such as yourself, who leave such wonderful comments are my inspiration and what keeps me going. Thank you!

  13. JehanP
    December 28, 2010 / 7:46 am

    You can definitely use whole milk, I just happened to have evaporated on hand.

  14. Riana
    January 27, 2011 / 8:22 am

    Oh my days!!! I stumbled on this site while doing a search on google for Guyanese egg balls..I’m so excited now that I found it.Thank you so much.I will now be a regular visitor since I absoultely love all the recipes I have seen and definetly will be trying out a few..Cheers!!

  15. Riana
    January 27, 2011 / 8:27 am

    By the way the pics are great..keep up the good work !!!!!

  16. JehanP
    January 27, 2011 / 9:30 am

    Thank you Riana

  17. Tash
    February 9, 2011 / 7:30 pm

    Jehan, I came across your website while looking for a recipe for mango sour. Not only did I find it, but I also found a recipe that I’ve been looking for for years now – cheese pies! I left Guyana almost 12 years ago, and ever so often, I have a craving for cheese pies but could not find the recipe anywhere – not even in my Guyana cookbook. I’m definitely going to try your recipe – I can’t wait! Oh, BTW, I also went to Sacred Heart in the early ’90s, and boy do I remember Arapaima – I loved that place!

    P.S., I’m loving your website!

  18. JehanP
    February 10, 2011 / 11:10 am

    Thank you Tash, I have such fond memories of eating cheese pie, cheese roll and scones for lunch. When did you graduate? I left in 92.

  19. Tash
    February 10, 2011 / 4:40 pm

    I graduated in ’94….

  20. Aady
    July 28, 2012 / 3:54 am

    Hi.. Wud luv to try ur recipe.. But don’t hav shortening here.. Can u help me out wit a substitute? Margarine? Or all butter? Pleezzee lemme knw =)

  21. JehanP
    July 30, 2012 / 9:06 am

    Hi Aady. Sorry for the late reply. Butter would be a great substitute.

  22. February 28, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    thank u so much for this recipe…..i was looking around even on food network for a good quiche recipe ( cheese pie)….and i tried some but it came out eggy because most of the recipes called for 5 or 6 eggs …..it was actually a scrambelled eggs look ….didnt like the taste…..but i see u have only 1 egg and alot of cheese and milk…so that sounds very creamy and just the right consistancy….i will definately try this…..thanks again…..love your picture of the finished product too….it reminds me when i was home ….i also was a frequent visitor of arophima….smile

  23. Dionne Jones
    April 29, 2014 / 4:38 pm

    Hi Jehan, would it be possible to put how much your recipe yields. thanks much

  24. JehanP
    May 1, 2014 / 11:24 am

    Dionne, I’ve made this so long ago that I don’t recall. Sorry…

  25. Deborah
    January 24, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    These cheese pies are absolutely delicious. You forgot the pinch of salt in the ingredients for pastry. Now I made 2 batches of pastry. I have 24 – 2 to give away. Someone come and get them off my hands. I must keep my weight down.

  26. JehanP
    January 25, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Thanks Deborah!

  27. Tracey
    June 10, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Hi jehan am a vegetarian
    What can I substitute the egg with?

  28. JehanP
    June 12, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Tracey it cannot be substitute for this recipe since quiche is basically an egg custard.