30/05/2011

Halloumi Pie

This is, basically, a variation on the filling from a Greek Easter pastry called a flaouna. I adore them. An addiction was born the first time I tasted one, still warm from the oven at my Auntie Helen’s house.

A brief history: http://kopiaste.org/2008/04/easter-flaounes/ but there's no recipe there unless you buy the book.

This link is better. http://kypros.org/Sxetikos/Cookery/Flaounes-AS.htm and this one shows you how to make the individual pies. http://www.justaboutcyprus.com/Food_and_Drink/Recipes/Flaounes.html

In my quest to reproduce these pastries, it became clear that the cheese for the filling is not easily obtainable here, and even when it is – at Easter – it is very expensive. I also didn’t know the name, which made it more difficult. I asked the family, and they said, quite simply, "it’s just called ‘cheese for flaounes, agapi mou*." When I did find it, it was £15 for a small piece, and the label did indeed just say “Cheese for Flaounes”.

I have since found out that it does have a name, it’s called pafitiko, but no-one in my family knew it, and neither did any other Greek or Cypriot that I asked.

My Auntie used half halloumi and half cheddar so that’s roughly what I do. Probably more halloumi than cheddar. She used the special dough too, but I can’t be bothered unless it is Easter.

For a VERY LARGE PIE that filled a 9” x 9” x 2” deep pan.

Enough short crust pastry to line the tin. I don’t quite know how much that is as I didn’t make it but it was probably about 500g.

3.5 x 250g blocks of halloumi cheese, grated. (I got mine from Asda. Most big stores sell it.)

1 x 250g block mature cheddar

At least 4 tbs finely chopped fresh mint (I use a whole bunch sometimes!)

1 tbs dried mint

2 good handfuls of sultanas

2 spring onions very finely chopped

3-4 eggs

½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Sesame seeds - optional (not if you are me they aren't.)

Line the baking tin with your choice of pastry and bake for around 15 minutes so that it starts to cook. Cooking it blind stops the base leaking when the egg/cheese mixture goes in.

Mix all the cheeses, herbs, spices, onions and fruit together so the fruit is well distributed.

Crack 2 eggs in, and add the bicarb, mixing it in. Then mix the eggs into the cheeses. It should be wet enough to hold together, but not runny at all so you just have to adjust as you go. I eventually used 4 smallish eggs the first time I made a large pie.

Pile the filling into the case, smooshing it into all the corners, sprinkle with sesame seeds if using then bake for around 40 minutes – non fan oven – or 30 in a fan oven at around 170C.

The centre should be set and firm, not wobbly at all. Leave it to cool a while before slicing, it makes it easier!

EDIT: If you cover the pie with a lid, you will get liquid from the cheese inside it. Halloumi is a very wet cheese, so be warned. The uncovered part lets the steam escape.

EDIT 2: Easy peasy prep! I have discovered that halloumi and cheddar grate, well, cube into tiny bits,  beautifully in the food processor. Do the halloumi, spring onions and mint first, then do the cheddar second else it gets claggy.

EDIT 3: I have made so many variations of this pie now. The most recent was without sultanas for a friend, but I most definitely prefer it with.

Halloumi Pie the First


d_floorlandmine 's photo of Halloumi Pie II.


The filling was piled into a sheet of short crust pastry (I did buy ready made but I don't care) and with the edges just folded over as I didn't have a baking pan the right size. More photos here. It does actually look like a giant flaouna.

http://dancefloorlandmine.smugmug.com/Other/Food/2011-05-25-Halloumi-Pie/17222662_X7DhsS#1306929545_6q5bFDd

This one was made using puff pastry, and the photo after that is what you do when you have leftover filling but no more pastry. Pile the filling into muffin cups! They make fabulous lunchbox snacks.




If you do want to make the individual pies, it is a bit of an effort but worth it.


This is the more traditional way of doing it. I have copied and pasted from the original website as the pages are taking around 20 minutes to load. Thank you to http://www.flavoursofcyprus.com for permission to use it.

FLAOUNES (Traditional Easter Cheese Pies)
Dough

1kg flour (village, Farina or plain flour is best)
1tbsp baking powder or packet of ready yeast
320gr of spry or ½ - ¾ cup of olive oil
2-3 eggs
Milk and Water – up to ½ litre when mixed
Pinch of salt
250g Sesame seeds

Cheese filling
1kg of cheese *
1 pkt of ready yeast or 1 tbsp baking powder
6-8 eggs
200g sultanas or to taste (optional – some people prefer them plain)
Fresh or dried mint** 
1/2 tsp Mechlepi (a sweet smelling spice made from the inside of cherry pips) 
1/2 tsp masticha (or gum dried powdered resin) (1/2tsp)
1/ tsp Cinnamon 

Method
First make the cheese filling, as this needs to rest for at least 2 hours maybe longer. You can normally tell it’s ready as it rises and springs back when touched.

To make the cheese filling – Grate the cheese; add the spices, eggs and the yeast. 
Mix in the sultanas and mint and leave to rest.

To make the dough – sift flour and salt in a bowl and add the oil or shortening, mix well.
Add milk, water and eggs. 
Knead as leave to rest. 
Again you can tell if the dough is ready when it springs back to the touch.

Prepare the sesame - Soak the sesame seeds in hot water, then rinse in cold and drain onto a towel in a flat tray

Beat an egg with some sesame seeds for glazing the pies before cooking

To make the pies
Roll out the dough into the desired shape, you can make them round, square or triangular whatever you prefer. You can make them as large or as small as you like but the thickness of the pastry should be about ¾ - 1 cm when rolled out.

Prepare the sesame - Soak the sesame seeds in hot water, then rinse in cold and drain onto a towel in a flat tray
Beat an egg with some sesame seeds for glazing the pies before cooking

To make the pies – Roll out the dough into the desired shape, you can make them round, square or triangular whatever you prefer. You can make them as large or as small as you like but the thickness of the pastry should be about ¾ - 1 cm when rolled out.


Press the bottom of the pastry pies into the sesame seeds.
Put the required amount of filling into the pastry, usually you judge this depending on the size of your pastry. You need to leave about 3 or 4 cm to fold over the mixture so it does not escape when cooking. 

Press the corners where the pastry meets, lightly with a fork to seal the edges.

Leave the flaounes to stand for a while, till risen, again you can tell with the touch method.

Brush top with the glaze.

Bake in a hot oven on hot pastry sheets, till golden brown and well risen, the bottom should also be cooked. 

You can normally tell they are ready in the same way that you test bread. If you knock the underside it should give off a hollow sound. 


(*you can use village cheese, halloumi  or cheddar cheese or a mixture of all three whatever you can find or prefer. It’s nicer with village cheese and Halloumi)

(**if using fresh use about 1 cup of chopped fresh mint or less, to taste, if you put too much the pies will be bitter. If using dried you need about 1 heaped tbsp, again this is to taste)

3 comments:

Libby said...

You have combined my two favourite things; halloumi and pie. I shall me trying this recipe forthwith!

Lisa said...

It's such an easy thing to do, but man it pays you back with flavour.

You will be singing the halloumi song.

Tales from the Tiny Kitchen said...

This looks delicious!!!