Kalitsounia – Cretan Cheese Pastries
Kalitsounia (also spelled kalitsouni or kaltsouni) is a traditional Greek pastry that is typically filled with cheese and honey. It is often shaped like a crescent or half-moon, and is traditionally served as a dessert or sweet snack.
The pastry dough is made with flour, semolina, and butter, and the filling is typically a mixture of fresh cheese, such as feta or anthotyros, and honey or other sweeteners. Kalitsounia are often flavored with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, and may be topped with sesame seeds or powdered sugar.
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A Little History Of The Sweet Kalitsounia
The name “kalitsounia” is derived from the Cretan word “kalitsouni,” which means “small cheese pie.”
Kalitsounia is similar to other types of pastries that are found in the Mediterranean region, such as burek in the Balkans and borek in Turkey. It is thought that these pastries were influenced by the Ottoman occupation of Greece and the broader region, as they are similar to traditional Ottoman pastries like baklava and kataifi.
Today, kalitsounia is enjoyed all over Greece and is often served as a dessert or sweet snack. It is a popular treat during holidays and special occasions, and is often made at home by families.
It can also be found at bakeries and pastry shops throughout the country.
Make the dough for Kalitsounia
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, semolina, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the bowl. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, crumble the feta cheese and add it to the flour mixture. Mix the cheese into the flour mixture until it is evenly distributed.
Gradually add enough water to the mixture to form a soft dough.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Make The filling for Kalitsounia
Crumble the anthotyros or cottage cheese and mix it with honey, and then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3 mm) and cut it into squares using a square cookie cutter or just simply cut them to equal size with a knife or pizza cutter.
Place about 1 tsp of the cheese and honey mixture on the middle of each dough square and pinch together the 4 corner of the square dough, to get a shape like in photo.
Place the kalitsounia on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle with sesame seed or powdered sugar if desired.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Let cool before serving.
Enjoy, Good Appetite!
This recipe have a variation of the traditional recipe where cheese and honey are combined to make a filling, but you can try experimenting with other ingredients and variations to see what you prefer.