Cretan Kalitsounia (Sweet Cheese Pastries)

Total Time
38mins
Prep
30 mins
Cook
8 mins

These delectable cheese pastries are served throughout Crete. The best, in my opinion, are served in sunny villages scattered throughout the White Mountain Range on the drive from Chania to Sfakia. There, they are served with a drizzle of the local thyme honey. In more urban centers, many just sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Either way, they are addictive and delicious.

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Ingredients

Nutrition
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 34 cup water
  • 1 lb manouri cheese (ricotta will do in a pinch) or 1 lb fresh mizithra cheese (ricotta will do in a pinch)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 12 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 12 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • olive oil (for frying) or clarified butter (for frying)
  • Garnish

  • greek thyme honey or cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare a stiff dough with the flour, olive oil, salt and water.
  2. Leave to rest, covered, for an hour.
  3. Crumble cheese.
  4. Mix well with egg, zest, cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Separate dough in two.
  6. Take half of dough and roll out 1/8 inch thick on a lightly-floured surface.
  7. Using a water glass, cut into small rounds 3 inches in diameter.
  8. Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture on each round of dough, moisten edges with a little water, fold over and seal well, pressing the edges together with a fork.
  9. Repeat with remaining dough and cheese filling.
  10. Heat enough olive oil or clarified butter to come up about 3/4 inch of pan.
  11. Fry pastries until golden brown.
  12. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and serve hot.