Flaounes (Easter Cheese Pastries)

 
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~ History of Flaounes:
~ Flaounes is a Cypriot Cheese Pastry which is connected directly to Greek Orthodox Easter.
~ During the Easter feast days, in every Cypriot Greek Orthodox house you happen to visit, from the biggest town to the smallest village, you will come across to Flaounes.
~ Every Cypriot house wife makes more than the family usually needs because Flaounes is treated like a delicacy that everyone loves and by freezing some of them one can have them preserved for a long time. When you have the craving for Flaounes, all you have to do is defrost some, heat them up in the conventional oven or microwave oven.
~ In Cyprus, the local cheese is being used made by the Cypriot shepherds like the Cypriot cheese Kefalotyri, Kaskavali or even Halloumi.
~ In the event that you can not get your hands on the local cheese you can use the white hand cheese of your likings, like the Greek Kefalotyri and Kefalograviera, English Cheddar or Cheshire, the Italian Parmesan, Romanelo or Pressato (mild), Pecorino (salty) or even the French Cantal cheese.
~ When I make Flaounes (Living in Canada) I use two kinds of cheese. One salted and one mild.
~ For the purpose of making this recipe we are going to use the two Italian Pecorino and Romanelo Cheeses.
~ You can probably get them grated at the store where you will buy them.
 

 

~ Dough Ingredients:
 
~ 9 cups of flour
~ 1 3/4 cups of warm water
~ 1 3/4 of melted unsalted butter
~ 1 cup of warm milk
~ 1 tsp of mastic powder
~ 2 tsp of sugar
~ 3 tsp of yeast
~ 5 eggs
~ 1 1/2 tsp of salt
 
~ Filling Ingredients:
 
~ 1/2 kilo of Pecorino cheese grated
~ 1/2 kilo of Romanelo cheese grated
~ 10 eggs
~ 1 tbsp of self raising flour
~ 2 tsp of baking powder
~ 2 tbsp of dry mint
~ 1/2 cup of golden raisins (optional)
~ For glazing:
 
~ 2-3 egg yolks
~ 1/2 a cup of sesame seeds

Flaounes
   

 

~ First we prepare the filling.
~ In a large bowl place you grated cheeses and mix.
~ Add the flour, baking powder, dry mint and raisins (optional) and mix well.
~ Add eggs and mix again to thicken.
~ Cover your mixture with a woolen towel and leave aside for about 2-3 hours to rise.

~ Now we prepare the dough.
~ In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and sugar.
~ In a glass dissolve the yeast with some water.
~ Make a well in the flour mixture and poor in the dissolved yeast the melted butter and knead.
~ Add your eggs one at a time while kneading, the warm milk and water and knead well until the dough is thick and does not stick to your hands.
~ If the dough still sticks to your hands add some more flour.
~ Cover your dough with a woolen towel and let it sit for about an hour to rise.
~ Using a rolling pin and some dough at a time open a fillo about a 1/4 inch thick.
~ Using a bowl or a plate cut the fillo in round circles about 6-8 inches in diameter.
~ Depending on the size of your circle, place in the center 2-3 tbsp of filling.
~ Fold the sides of the circle to form a square or a triangle shape without covering the filling in the center.
~ Using a fork press the corners of the Flaounes to join.
~ For glazing, beat lightly the egg yolks and with a brush, brush your Flaounes dough over the top including the filling and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
~ Place your Flaounes in a non stick pan or you can use a non stick parchment paper.
~ Bake in a preheated oven to 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

~ You can serve Flaounes with the meal or even over a cup of coffee or tea.
~ Have a Great Easter and enjoy.