900g (2lb) strong or plain flour
1 7g sachet dried fast yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp ground mahlepi
½ tsp ground mastic
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g (4oz) butter, melted
450ml lukewarm milk or water
For the cheese filling:
900g (2lb) Cypriot flaouna cheese or alternatively use a mixture of halloumi and mild white Cheddar cheese
3-4 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped, or 2 tsp dry mint
2 tsp dried fast yeast
2-3 tbsp sugar, optional
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground mahlepi
½ tsp ground mastic gum
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
75g (3oz) fine semolina
3 tbsp self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g -100g golden sultanas or raisins, washed and drained
4-5 eggs, whisked
For the glaze:
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbsp milk
100g (4 oz) sesame seeds
Grate all the cheese and let it dry overnight in the fridge or for a few hours outside.
Place all the filling ingredients, except for the eggs, in a large bowl and mix lightly with your hands. Whisk the eggs and then gradually add them to the cheese, mixing with your hands – the mixture must hold its shape and not stick to your hands. Cover and allow the filling to rest for a few hours, ideally prepare it first thing in the morning and bake flaounes at lunch time.
To make the dough, sift flours into a large bowl with the yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder cinnamon, mahlepi and mastic. Add the butter and mix until you get fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the flour, start pouring the warm milk or water and mix with your hands to form a firm but soft dough. Knead on a floured board until smooth and elastic, cover with a cloth or cling film and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough, divide into four pieces and roll one piece at a time to 10cm thickness. Cut circles using a saucer 18×18 and roll the circles again.
Take a generous portion of the cheese mixture, place in the centre of each disc, fold the edges inwards to make a square or triangle, making sure the cheese filling is exposed on the top and the opening is not too big. Add more cheese if needed and press the corners of the pastry with the back of a fork to seal. Brush pastries gently all over with the beaten egg and milk glaze and then sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds.
Place Flaounes on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leave to rest for 15 minutes, then bake in a preheated oven at 180oC / 350oF / gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese filling is puffed and pastry is golden brown. Check after 20 minutes, moving the tray around so they cook evenly. Remove from the oven, place on a tray and cover with another tea towel to keep them soft.
Serve warm or cold, or cool them completely and then freeze.
Any leftover dough can be shaped into Koulourakia (see Page 59 for recipe).
Loulla Astin

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