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Meet the Kalitsounia: A traditional Cretan Christmas Recipe

Meet the Kalitsounia: A traditional Cretan Christmas Recipe

Kalitsounia are small traditional pies, stuffed with sweeten myzithra Cheese and drizzled with honey. (If you can’t find myzithra cheese, ricotta or mascarpone works just as well). These small treats are unique to Crete and served throughout the island, from the downtown restaurants of Agios Nikolaos to family-run village tavernas. Every household has its own recipe, with many variations in existence, so why not make a batch of your own kalitsounia and add a touch of Crete to your Christmas!

Enjoy them and don’t forget to share your results with us at @candiaparkvillage

For the dough

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup yoghurt (strained)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1kg flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • Juice of 1/2 orange

For the filling

  • 1kg soft cheese (myzithra, mascarpone or ricotta)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Glaze

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F /Gas 4).  Combine the olive oil, sugar, yogurt and egg in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the orange juice, mixing again. Slowly sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, mixing continuously until it forms a soft dough. You may not need to use all the flour. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cheese, sugar, egg and cinnamon in a bowl and blend well. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, cutting it into circles roughly 10cm in diameter and 0.3cm thick. Add a spoonful of the cheese mixture to the centre of each circle. Pull up the edges of the dough and pinch together around the cheese, leaving the centre open. To make the glaze, whisk the eggs and water in a bowl, and brush across the top of the pastries. Place them onto a lined baking tray, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden. Drizzle with honey, and serve warm.

We are wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Photo Credits: Giorgos Drakopoulos
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