Kalitsounia | Cretan Sweet Cheese Pies

Cretan Sweet Cheese PiesIs it really October already? It is? So you’re telling me we’ve only got a few more months and it will be 2015? Oh boy…

This year has gone by incredibly fast. I know I’ve said it before, but it really has. Both Jane and I have grown a lot this year and developed new skills and new outlooks on life. Of course this blog has been at the heart of it all.

It’s been a little slow here these past few weeks, the first in the blog’s history, but rest assure it’s for good reason. We’ve got some things in the works that we’ll be releasing in the next few months. We’ve also kept busy. Two of our recipes have appeared in, The Greek Star newspaper! It is the longest running Greek American newspaper in the nation, which published its first issue in 1904. Moreover, to our pleasant surprise, both times we were featured, we made the cover! It was pretty awesome to see hard work paying off and obviously to see our stuff in print.

crete cheese pie

Additionally, we’ve been planning out our vacation. We try and travel every year, as it is both a passion and a perfect way of relaxing. We’re really excited about the fact that we leave in just 10 days! We won’t be heading to Greece this year (we’re doing 3 weeks there next summer), so we are looking forward to seeing a few other countries in Europe. We’ll be sharing photos of our journey on our Instagram page, so follow along if you’re interested in traveling with us :)

Speaking of traveling, let’s now take a culinary trip to Crete. May we present to you today’s recipe hailing from that wonderful island: Kalitsounia (καλιτσούνια) Sweet Cheese Pies.

For those of you that don’t know, we’re the Greek food writers over on about.com. We were not the first, so I always tend to search and see what the other writers had done in the past. I came along Nancy’s recipe for this and thought I had to give it a go.

cheese pie stuffingBoth Jane and I have experienced these in Crete, as I tend to make sure we try any cheese stuffed pastry we see. I just was not able to find a recipe for them, something to use as a base, and it slipped away. Well, not today. No, today, I share this wonderful recipe with the world.

They are actually fun to make. Just taking a cup, trying to use one of the ones with a wide top, and creating circles, placing cheese in the middle, and closing it up. Feel free to get creative and make any shapes you want.

The overall eating experience is what the title says, sweet cheese. The cheese develops the hint of sweetness from the sugar and cinnamon, and the batter binds it all together with hints of vanilla, orange, and that slight spice of brandy.

I will say this: these are addicting. Especially when they are fresh out of the oven. I had like 5 in one go. You can also kick it up a notch and drizzle some honey over them.

As always, we hope you enjoy this recipe!

Kali Orexi

Kenton & Jane

Kalitsounia | Cretan Sweet Cheese Pies
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 17
 
Sweet cheese pies from Crete
Ingredients
  • --Dough--
  • 1½ cups flour, plus extra for kneading surface
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • --Filling--
  • 7 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (optional)
  • --Egg Wash--
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and sugar, mix.
  2. Add in all remaining ingredients under dough sections in order listed, one at a time.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are combined then place on floured surface and knead until soft dough is formed.
  4. Set dough aside. Start on filling.
  5. In a bowl, add all filling ingredients, mix until well combined.
  6. Take dough ball and place on floured surface, roll out to rectangle, about ½ inch thick.
  7. Taking a cup, create circle cutouts in the dough. Remove remaining dough so you are left with just the circle cutouts.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of cheese filling to center of each circle, and either fold over to close, or pinch sides to create shapes - it's up to you here, be creative.
  9. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Roll remaining dough back out and repeat until all dough is used.
  11. Once done, brush each cheese pie with egg wash (combine egg and water, mix).
  12. Place in preheated oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Remove, sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!
Notes
*If dough is too wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to create dough.
**Feel free to drizzle honey over them as well.
***Serving is approx. how many individual pies you'll get.

Recipe Adapted from Nancy’s

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