Photo by paxxi.gr
As this week is Greek Easter week, we have decided to give you the recipe of our favourite Greek Easter treat: Cretan Kaltsounia, also called Lihnarakia. It's a very traditional recipe from the island of Crete (as the name suggests) and one that you will be returning to very frequently, once you have tried them!!
It takes a bit of effort to make Kaltsounia but, believe us, once made they tend to disappear very quickly from the plate. You can make a few more and store them away for 1-2 weeks, to serve with your coffee and tea.
Unfortunately, we do not have many step-by-step photos to go along with this recipe, because the last time we made them we only took pictures of the final stages. Don’t worry, though. The instructions are very easy to follow.
For the dough
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 kg plain flour
For the filling
1.5 kg Sweet Mizithra cheese (if you can't find this Greek cheese, use Ricotta cheese instead)
Half a cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1) Mix the baking powder and the lemon juice.
2) Mix all the dough ingredients together (including the baking powder mix) until you get a smooth dough that doesn't stick to your fingers.
3) Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a towel and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
4) In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling.
5) Once the dough has been rested enough, roll it out on a slightly floured surface until it is about 1cm thick. You can split the dough into three pieces and roll each piece separately if you don't have enough space.
6) Cut the dough into circles of around 6cm to 7cm in diameter. You can cut it in larger circles up to 10cm, but obviously you will have to fill them with a lot more filling.
7) Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle.
8) Slowly bring the ends together to almost cover the filling, pinching them together so they stay closed.
9) Place them in a lightly buttered baking tray.
10) Brush the dough with beaten egg and sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.
11) Bake in the oven in medium heat for about 20 minutes.