November 16, 2022

Recipe: Cypriot Flaounes

Cheese making is disarmingly simple. You can, of course, simply buy the cheese for these crispy flaounes, but why let someone else have all the fun?

Cypriot Flaounes
makes 12

for the filling
350g haloumi
100g mild cheddar
50g pecorino, grated
2 eggs, beaten well
120g raisins
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp mastic, from Middle Eastern shops
1 tsp mahlab, from Middle Eastern shops
50g semolina

for the dough
500g plain flour, sifted twice
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mahlab ground to a fine powder
1 tsp mastic ground to a fine powder
1 tsp sugar
7g dry active yeast
125g butter, melted
2 eggs
60ml of warm milk
500ml warm water
1 egg, whisked
2 cups sesame seeds

Make the filling first so it has time to rest.

Grate all the cheeses and add to the beaten eggs. Fold in the raisins, mint, dill, mastic, mahlab and semolina and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 2 hours or even overnight.

To make the dough, put the sifted flour into a large bowl, add the salt, baking powder, mahlab, mastic, sugar and yeast, and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the middle and set aside briefly.

Beat the melted butter and eggs gently, then gradually add the milk and warm water. Pour this in the well of your flour mixture and bring together with your fingers. If the mixture is too dry, gradually add up to 100ml more water, as needed.

Continue kneading the dough for a few minutes until the texture is firm. Adjust with more flour if it is too wet. Cover the dough and let it rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and cut into 12 evenly-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it out with rolling pin to make a 12cm circle. Brush one side with beaten egg.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a small plate. Press the glazed side down on the sesame seeds, so that the seeds are pressed into the dough. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the palms of your hand and flatten to a circle of about 8cm. Put it in the centre of the dough and and fold in the edges, pinching all the way around.

Once all your flaounes are shaped, place them on a baking tray lined with oven paper, let them rise for another 30 minutes and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

makes approx 500g
3L milk, whole, unhomogenised, sheep, goat or cow’s milk or a mixture
1ml calcium chloride
1ml rennet
250g salt dissolved in 1L water for brine solution
2 tbsp dried mint and
2 tbsp dried dill

Put milk into a heavy based saucepan. Fill the sink with very hot water. Stand the saucepan of milk in the water and allow to reach a temperature of 42C. Remove from water bath.

Stir in the calcium chloride. Next, add the rennet and stir for 1 minute. After this do not stir or disturb the saucepan for the next 40 minutes as the curd develops.

Use a long-bladed knife to cut the curd into about 20-25mm cubes. Allow the curd to sit for another 30 minutes with very gentle stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Using a clean scoop, remove curds to a muslin or cheesecloth-lined basket, sitting on a trivet in a bowl. Gently press for about one hour. Then cut into 2 blocks horizontally.

Separate 500ml of the remaining whey and keep the rest to make ricotta later. Heat the 500ml of whey to 90C. Cook the blocks of haloumi separately until they float (approx 5 mins), then cool. Add the whey to the rest you are keeping.

Place the pieces in your brine solution for 30 minutes, then place on rack to drain.

Sprinkle one side with dried herbs, cover with the other piece. Press lightly for several hours.

The haloumi will keep in the fridge for 5 days but can be vacuum packed as well.


This article first appeared in the October 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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