Kattimeri / Καττιμέρι

This very old, traditional dessert is similar to Tsipopita, another popular Cypriot dessert that’s filled with thick cream or Anari (Ricotta cheese). The simple pastry is rolled out thinly, brushed with oil, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and chopped almonds, then rolled into a rope, shaped into a large coil, baked until golden and smothered in syrup. Delicious!

Ingredients (serves 8-10):

For the pastry:
700g (1 ½ lb) plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
75g (3oz) vegetable fat or oil
2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
200ml warm water, approx
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Vegetable fat or oil (for brushing pastry)

For the filling:
Caster sugar
Ground cinnamon
450g (1lb) roasted, chopped almonds

For the topping:
Roasted, chopped almonds
Ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves

For the syrup:
200g (7oz) sugar
400ml (¾ pint) water
1 small cinnamon stick
4 cloves

You will also need: 1 x 30cm x 30cm round shallow greased oven tray

Pre-heat your oven to 180c / 350f / gas mark 4.
Sieve the flour with the baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in the fat and lemon juice to form fine breadcrumbs. Add orange juice and enough warm water, and mix to a soft dough. Cover and rest for 1 hour.
To make the syrup, place the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves in a small saucepan, bring to the boil until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Knead the dough and shape into a long, fat sausage. Divide into 4 or 6 portions and roll each portion, on a slightly floured board, into large thin sheets.
Brush the pastry with vegetable fat or oil and sprinkle all over with a little sugar, ground cinnamon and chopped almonds. Roll pastry carefully into long, thin, rope shapes and as you are placing in the baking tin, holding both ends, twist lightly, without breaking the pasty and follow the shape of the tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry until you reach the middle and it looks like a large coil. You can start in the middle of the tray if you prefer. Cover the pie and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Brush the top with oil and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, chopped almonds and a little cold water which helps the pastry crisp up. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour or until golden and crispy, rotating the tray a couple of times so it browns evenly.
Remove from the oven and spoon the warm syrup all over the hot pastry. Cover pastry and let it rest for a couple of hours to keep it soft.
Cut a large piece and enjoy!

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