Skip to main content

The 'We knead to bake' project 2014 - Flaounes (Cypriot Savory Easter Cheese Pies)


 Aparna Balasubramanian's selection this month is Mediterranean, perfect for spring weather. Flaounes  are a traditional Easter dish made on Good Friday to break the fasting for Lent. A signature dish in Greece & Cyprus, Flaounes have a filling of Sheep's milk cheeses (that are referred to as Flaounes cheese) that are typically made by the local Cypriot shephards. Tangy and salty, the cheese makes for a perfect pairing with little nuggets of raisins embedded in the filling.

It isn't absolutely necessary of course, to hunt around for these special cheeses, sharp Cheddar, combined with mozzarella makes a great substitute. I used Ricotta Salata and a Greek 'melting' cheese called Kasseri.





Two other in the ingredients that are characteristic of Flaounes are Mastic and Mahlab


Mastic is the resin from a Middle Eastern shrub, while Mahlab is obtained by powdering the pits of a wild cherry. It adds a rather musky aromatic flavor to the dough. There are no acceptable substitutes, Omit the ingredients if you don't have any. The original recipe calls for eggs, but I opted to make an egg-free version.






Flaounes (Cypriot Savory Easter Cheese Pies - Makes 8 pies)





For the dough:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt


1 1/2 teaspoon sugar


½ teaspoon mastic, ground in a mortar (optional)

¼ teaspoonground mahleb,

1/4 cup milk

60 grams butter, melted and cooled

About 1/4 cup (or less) lukewarm water, or as needed

Olive oil, for greasing bowl and rolling dough



 For the filling:

1 cup grated Ricotta Salata

1/2 cup grated Kasseri cheese

2 tsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup semolina (not semolina flour)

1 tbsp Greek Oregano

1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)

1/8 cup Chopped sour cherries

 3/4 tsp baking powder

1 to 2 tbsp milk




1 tbsp flour + less than 1/8 cup milk (for sealing paste)

1/3 to 1/2 cup un-toasted sesame seeds



A little milk for brushing


Combine & whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, Mahlab & Mastic  (if you have them) into the bowl of the stand mixer (Fitted with the dough hook). Whisk together the  milk and melted butter in a small bowl and add it to the flour. Knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough, which is just short of sticky, by adding just enough water.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat it well. Cover loosely and let the dough proof for about 1 to 2 hours, until it  doubles in volume. Once it has risen, deflate the dough by pressing it out and folding it a few times. Then place it in a container (the dough will rise so use a large enough container), cover loosely and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  At this point you may refrigerate the dough overnight if opting to make the pies the following day. 


While the dough is proofing, Get the filling ready by combining all the ingredients. Mix with a fork until its the consistency of a thick paste.


Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Lightly oil your work surface and rolling pin., and roll each piece into a 5 to 6” round. The round of dough should be thinner rather than thick. If it is too thick you will have a very “bready” pie, but make sure that your round of dough is not too thin to support/ carry the weight of the filling..




Scoop the filling out into 8 portions (~ 2.5 tablespoons each). Place each round of the dough on a large plate spread with sesame seeds Fold over the sides to make a square shape with some of the filling exposed. Using the flour and milk paste seal the corners together and press down with the tines of the fork.



Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper keeping a gap of about 4 inches (4 pies to a regular half sheet pan). Cover with plastic film and allow to proof a second time for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush the surface of the  pies with the milk and place the trays to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Bon appetit!
This recipe is being Yeastspotted.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sputtering back....

I seriously feel like this scene from the movie 3 idiots .. remember this one? The way I kept racking up drafts and eventually stopped doing that as well. Lulled into complacence by the quick high from Instagram posts. Recipe measurements hastily scribbled into a Moleskine notebook faithfully depending upon my moods. The truth is that I keep over thinking the backstories needed to make the post more interesting while in reality the truth is that ideas and inspirations just occur spontaneously (like little itches , sneezes or twitches) whenever the opportunity happens to strike. Some really cool ideas that scare the beejeezus out of me and yet prove to be utterly delightful and simple in the end. Others, that seem so trivial that I feel it wouldn't be worth crowing about -- even if there are enough other recipes in that genre that get so much publicity simply because the author happens to have the right marketing knack. So in the past 4 years that I've been

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Pickling & preserving the Buddha's Hand!

 Got your attention with that sacrilegious sounding title on this post, didn't I? Well, I'm as spiritual as the next person out there, and never in my life will I ever commit that variety of Blasphemy, so nothing to fret about. I still wonder why these curious looking citrus entities (other than the obvious visual reason) were called such. It turns out that these fruits are used as a religious offering to the Buddha. My neighboring Whole Foods Market (which is quite some distance away, in Princeton) had a stock of these weird looking citrus and I must have been the oddball customer who immediately went cuckoo on spotting them. Since I had never seen one before, I immediately went for the biggest fruit with the most tentacles (since they were sold as individual units rather than by weight) The first three 'tentacles' were peeled off for their zest, dried in the oven and went into making a citrus salt for my Food52 Secret Santa .     Making