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Prepare time: 2 hr
Bake time: 30 min
Passive time: 6 hr (at least)
Ready in: 2 hr 30 min + passive time
Yield: 12 hand pies

Flaouna is the traditional Cypriot Easter bread, filled with a combination of two or three types of cheese mixed with spices, fresh mint and raisins.

Depending on the recipe, the dough may contain yeast and/or baking powder, homemade sourdough or it can be made with no leavens. Some recipes call for olive oil, others call for butter.

As for the filling, it basically consists of Cypriot haloumi and another type of semi hard cheese, fresh mint, mahleb, mastic and cinnamon. It may contain white, granulated sugar and the addition of raisins is optional. The important thing about the filling, is to prepare it the previous night and keep it in the fridge so that the yeast has time to activate and all these flavors to combine.

I chose to put brown sugar in the filling because of its milder sweetness and replaced cinnamon with lime zest to match it with the mint. The result was delicious, rich, cheesy, semi sweet flaounes with plenty of Easter aroma and a refreshing touch!

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 250g cypriot haloumi cheese, grated
  • 400g greek kasseri cheese, grated
  • 50g. fine semolina
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50g raisins
  • 2tbsps brown sugar, granulated
  • 2tbsps fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp mahleb, ground
  • ¼ tsp mastic, ground
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 10g dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

For the dough

  • 375g all purpose flour
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 75ml fresh orange juice
  • 75ml warm milk
  • ½ tsp mahleb, ground
  • ¼ tsp mastic, ground
  • zest of 2 limes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder

For topping

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2tbsps water
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

Note

  • It is really important to prepare the filling the day before, so that the yeast has time to activate and the flavors to combine.

1
In a large bowl mix the haloumi with the kasseri. Add the semolina and stir with a spatula.

2
Add the sugar, the yeast, the mahleb, the mastic, the baking powder and finally the raisins. Stir well.

3
Add the zest of the two limes and the eggs lightly beaten.
Chop the mint leaves and put them into the bowl.

4
Wear a disposable glove and mix well with your hand for 2min. Transfer into a clean, dry bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep it in the fridge overnight. The mixture will rise a bit.

5
In a large bowl, sift the flour.
Add the salt, the spices, the baking powder and blend.

6
Add the olive oil and mix with your fingers for a few seconds, just to moisten the flour. Start rubbing the mixture with your hands until it looks like wet sand.

7
Add the lime zest, the orange juice, the milk and the egg. Start kneading.
(After a while, you’ll be tempted to add more flour. There’s no need to. Within the next few minutes, the dough will come together.)

8
Once the sides of your bowl are clean, take the dough out and knead it for about 10min. Shape it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30min.

9
Weigh the dough and cut it into 12 equal pieces.
Smooth the pieces with your palm and cover with plastic wrap to avoid skin forming.

10
Weigh the filling and divide it into 12 equal portions.
Wearing disposable gloves, shape each portion into a ball.

11
Take a piece of dough and roll out a disk, about 14cm/5.5inches in diameter.
Using two spoons, place a cheese ball at the center of the disk.

12
There are two ways to shape a flaouna. The first is to fold the dough in such a way to create a triangle around the filling, leaving the top side uncovered.
The second way is to fold the opposite sides of the dough, creating a rectangle.
We leave the top side of the filling uncovered, because it needs space to rise in the oven.

13
Once you’ve finished shaping, mix the egg yolk with the water and brush the flaounes.

14
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Take a fork and prick the dough, to allow air circulation.

15
Bake in a preheated oven, at 190°C/375°F, for 25 to 30min.

16
Enjoy!

Recipe Video

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