Parent Category: Living in Crete
Cretan Cuisine (Κρητική κουζίνα) - Sweet Cheese Pastries (καλιτσούνια Κρήτης)
These sweet cheese pastries use a rolled dough instead of thin phyllo sheets. Depending on how they are folded, they can be baked or fried. They are holiday tradition on the Greek island of Crete, but eaten at other times as well because they're so delicious! These call for the fresh soft variety of myzithra cheese, and if you can't find it, try Italian mascarpone or ricotta.
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of unflavored strained yogurt
- 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup of brandy
- 800 grams of fresh soft myzithra cheese (or mascarpone or ricotta)
- 1/2 - 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp of grated orange peel
- 2 tbs of all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten (for glaze)
- ground cinnamon (for baked pastries)
- Whisk the dry ingredients together (sugar, baking powder, flour).
- Add the oil, mixing with a spoon or hands.
- Stir in the strained yogurt and eggs and mix with spoon until the dough begins to stiffen, adding the brandy to soften the dough as needed.
- Knead the dough in the bowl for approximately 10 minutes until smooth, and set aside to rest.
- In a separate bowl, mix the cheese, cinnamon, sugar, egg yolk, orange peel, and flour together until well blended.
- The pastry:
- On a floured surface with a rolling pin, roll a piece of dough out to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Using a 8 cm cutter or saucer as a guide, cut out circles.
- Place a spoonful of the cheese mixture into the center of the circle and spread out close to the edges. Raise the rim of the dough up around the cheese and, with wet fingers, pinch the edges to pull the dough in around the cheese, leaving the center open so the cheese shows.
- Repeat using all the dough and filling. Place the kalitsounia on the baking sheet and brush lightly with beaten egg to glaze. Bake at 180 C for approximately 20 minutes until lightly browned (see. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
- Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Kalitsounia will keep well, covered, in the refrigerator.
Alternatly you can fry these:
- Place a teaspoonful of cheese mix into the center of the circle, fold the circle over into a half-moon shape. With wet fingers, crimp the edges to close securely.
- Preheat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat and fry until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or drizzle with honey.
Enjoy your meal (Καλή όρεξη)