Flaounes are a Cypriot cheese pastries especially baked for Greek Orthodox Easter and are traditionally served on Good Friday. The dough for the flaounes is an enriched yeast dough and the filling, a combination of a salted cheese and a mild cheese. The Flaounes cheese traditionally used for these pies is a locally produced cheese made by Cypriot shepherds and difficult to find outside of Cyprus. A good substitute would be a Cheddar or a Parmesan for the mild cheese and a salty cheese such as a Pecorino.
This post is the 16th in our ongoing baking group; We Knead to Bake, organized by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and on her blog, you can find the original recipe for Flaounes.
Flaounes (Cypriot Savory Easter Cheese Pies)
Adapted From The Traveler’s Lunchbox
For the Dough
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon mastic-if unavailable, leave out as there is no substitute
1/4 teaspoon ground mahleb, if unavailable, leave out as there is not substitute
1/4 cup milk
4 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup or less, lukewarm water, or as needed
Oil, for greasing bowl.
For the Filling
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/3 cup crumbled paneer or a queso blanco
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves or 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper/red chili flakes (optional, but delicious)
1/8 cup raisins or currants, optional
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon flour plus less than 1/8 cup milk ( for sealing paste, if not using the egg)
milk for brushing ( or egg wash from beaten egg above)
1/3-1/2 cup untoasted sesame seeds
First make the dough. I used my bread machine, but you can use a food processor as Aparna does. If using the bread machine. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to the manufacturers instructions for your machine. Process on the dough cycle. Remove from machine. Place in a container large enough to allow rising, cover loosely and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight, if desired.
Meanwhile make the filling. With a fork, mix all the ingredients for the filling, except for the milk (or egg if you are using it. Use immediately or if not, keep it aside and add the milk only when you are ready to use the filling.
Divide the dough into 8 or 10 pieces, if you want smaller Flaounes. Lightly oil your work surface and rolling pin. Roll each piece into a 5-6-inch round-not to thick or too thin. Divide the filling also into 8-10 portions. Spread the sesame seeds in a large plate and place a round of dough in the center and press lightly to coat the Flaounes with sesame seeds. Next, place the round on your work surface and put one portion of the filling, about a generous tablespoon, in the middle of the round of dough and spread it lightly, leaving, leaving about 1″ free at the edges.
See this video which will explain how to fold the Flaounes either in a square or a triangle.
Place the shaped pies on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2-3 inches between them and let them rise about 40 minutes. Just before baking them, brush the sides (dough part) with milk or beaten egg and bake the Flaounes at 375° F for 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown and the cheese filling is puffed up.
Let them cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10. The Flaounes will keep for 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container, or you can freeze up to a month.
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