Sweet and Spicy Cheese Pies
These particularly tasty pies have been inspired by two simple Greek peasant desserts and make wonderful appetizers! One hails from Sphakia a charming mountain village in southwest Crete and is particularly popular in Chania; they are filled with anthotiro (ricotta) or unsalted mitzithra cheese. The other recipe is from an equally beautiful island of Astypalaia. There, the pies are fried, filled with the spicy "kopanisti", which is the local piquant cheese, and served with fragrant local thyme honey drizzled over them.
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 cup of low fat yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups of anthotiro or mitzithra ( white goat's cheese) mashed with a fork
- 1-3 tsp of hot paprika or cayenne pepper (if desired)
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
- olive oil to grease the pan
- 1/2 cup of honey, preferably thyme honey
Making the Dough:
Attach the dough apparatus to your food processor.
Add the flour and baking powder to the mixing bowl.
Turn the mixer on and slowly add the yoghurt and about 2/3 of a cup of hot water.
Add the water slowly until the dough becomes soft. Mix for a further 3 minutes; remove the dough and place on a floured surface.
Allow to rest for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
For the Filling:
Mix the cheese with the paprika or cayenne pepper, add mint if desired.
Making the pies:
Separate the dough into 8 balls.
Use a floured rolling pin to roll out one ball at a time; cover the remaining dough with a damp cloth.
Roll the dough out onto a 25-30 cm disc shape. It doesn’t matter if the pastry isn’t perfectly round.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture over the surface of the pastry.
Roll the pastry up as tightly as possible; then, coil into a snail like shape, and secure the end of the roll so that the filling doesn’t ooze out.
Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll out again into a 25 cm disc shape.
Cover and repeat the process with the other balls of dough.
Heat a heavy-based, 30 cm non-stick frying pan, add the bare minimum of oil and spread it over the base of the pan with kitchen paper.
Add a pie to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes, pressing the surface with a wooden spatula.
Turn over and cook the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
Cook until golden brown.
Place the pie on a serving platter and drizzle with the honey while the pie is still warm.
Continue with the rest of the pies and stack them on the platter, drizzling each one with honey.
While the pies are still warm, cut them in a fan like shape into triangles and serve.