Sfakian cheese pies with honey

Sfakian cheese pies with honey

By
From
The Islands of Greece
Makes
10, enough for 2 for brunch, or 4–5 as a meze
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Little pies, called pita, stuffed with cheese, vegetables or meat, are popular all over the country and have a culinary history stretching back to the cooks of Ancient Greece. In countryside villages and on the islands, they would have been made in the morning, filled with whatever food was to hand and given to workers heading out to the fields, olive groves or the mountains to herd sheep and goats, to eat later in the day. Almost every town or village still has its own special pie, using local ingredients. This is my adaptation of a recipe from Sfakia, a village in southern Crete.

These little sweet cheese pies are served as mezedes or starters, but they are equally tasty at brunch. You can leave out the alcohol if you prefer, just replace it with the same amount of water; however it is a very traditional ingredient in many pie recipes and lends a lovely subtle flavour to the pastry.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
200g plain flour, plus more to dust
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons ouzo, raki or other aniseed liquor, (optional)
250g mozzarella, chopped
clear honey, ideally from thyme or rosemary honey, to serve

Method

  1. Mix the oil, flour, salt, ouzo (if using) and enough water (up to about 4 tablespoons, or 6 if you don’t use the alcohol) to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth, then wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. When the dough has rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1–2 mm thick, and, using a 7.5 cm round cutter, or a saucer, cut out around 20 circles (you will need an even number). Wet your fingertip and run a little water around the edge of each. Divide the mozzarella evenly between half of the circles and top each with the remaining circles. Press down lightly to seal; the pies should be fairly flat.
  3. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide frying pan and fry the pies until golden brown on both sides. Fry in batches, so as not to crowd the pan, and keep the cooked pies warm while you cook the rest, adding more oil as necessary, bringing it up to temperature before adding the next batch of pies. Serve warm, drizzled with honey.
Tags:
The Islands of Greece
Rebecca
Seal
Greek
Greece
Europe
European
Mediterranean
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