Sunday, April 27, 2014

Flaounes: An Easter Savoury Pie

(We Knead to Bake: Bread # 16)


This month's bread on We Knead to Bake was a savory bread pie called Flaounes (Flaaa-oo-nez). This pie is generally baked at Easter in Cyprus. The ingredients will remind you of cakes. A lot of raisins, spices, egg, and milk is used for making them. The tradition goes like this, after a long fasting period of Lent, these bread pies are baked on Good Friday and exchanged between families for goodwill. Every family will jealously guard their own recipe for flaounes.

Flaounes can be sweet, semi-sweet, or savoury. This cheesy bread pie keeps very well for at least 2-3 day, and can even be frozen.




When I read the detailed recipe provided by Aparna, I gave up in despair. The recipe was too complex and had too many ingredients. I cant do it! But after viewing the delightful pictures posted by the members of We Knead to Bake, I somehow got hooked on to the idea.

I thank Aparna for the detailed recipe. You can find her recipe here. I also referred to the original recipe from here.

Watch a video where Paul Hollywood teaches you how to make flaounes. Click this link.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the dough:


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp powdered mastic (leave it out if you don't have it)
1/4 tsp ground mahleb,(leave it out if you don't have it)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
60gm butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup (or less) lukewarm water, or as needed
Oil, for greasing bowl and rolling dough

For the filling
:

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (a somewhat sharp cheddar adds flavour)
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup crumbled paneer (fresh Indian milk cheese)
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina (not semolina flour)
1 tbsp dry mint (use 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint if available)
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper/ red chilli flakes (optional)
1/8 cup sultanas/ golden raisins (optional)
 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 to 2 tbsp milk 

1 egg, beaten
OR
1 tbsp flour + less than 1/8 cup milk (for sealing paste)

1/3 to 1/2 cup untoasted sesame seeds




A little milk for brushing (or egg wash from beaten egg above)

Process:


First make the dough. I used my hands but you can use food processor. Put the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and the flavouring ingredients (if you have them) into the bowl and mix. Whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter in a small bowl and add it to the flour. Knead, adding just enough water, till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky. Add water/ flour as necessary to get this consistency of dough. Too much flour will spoil the texture of the pies.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat it well. 



Cover loosely and let the dough rise for about 1 to 2 hours, until it is double in volume. Once it has risen, deflate the dough by pressing it out and folding it a few times. Then place it in a container (the dough will rise so use a large enough container), cover loosely and refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can leave this in the fridge overnight too, if you want to make these pies in two stages.
While the dough is sitting for the first rise, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients for the filling, except the milk (or egg if you’re using it) with a fork. 

 
Mixing ingredients of the filling

If you’re not using the filling immediately, keep it aside and add the milk only when you’re ready to use the filling.
The filling should be somewhat like a stiff paste, joust moist rather than wet.
Now shape the Flaounes. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (10 if you want slightly smaller pies). Lightly oil your work surface and rolling pin. Then roll each piece into a 5 to 6” round. The round of dough should be thinner rather than thick. If it is too thick you will have a very “bready” pie, but make sure that your round of dough is not too thin to support/ carry the weight of the filling.
Divide the filling also into 8 (or 10) portions. Spread the sesame seeds on a largish plate and place the round of dough on it, in the centre, and press down lightly. This makes for an easy way to coat the Flaounes with sesame seeds. 

Now place the round on your working surface and put one portion of filling (about a generous tablespoon full of it) in the middle of the round of dough and spread it lightly, leaving about 1” free at the edge.
You can make triangular or square Flaounes, and I personally feel that the square ones (more traditional) were less bready and nicer to eat. For the square ones, fold the two opposite edges over the filling leaving the centre exposed. Now fold over the other two edges as well so you have a square pocket with the filling showing at the centre. Press down the sealed points with the tines of a fork.
For the triangular Flaounes, pull up the edges of the dough at three points and partially fold over the filling, one after the other, leaving the uncovered. Use the paste of flour and milk (or beaten egg) to seal the flaps of dough well. Press down the sealed points with the tines of a fork. It is important to seal the pies well or they will open up during the second rise/ baking. Do not pinch the flaps together as they will come apart as they rise.

Place the shaped pies on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2 to 3” between them, and let them rise for about 40 minutes. Just before baking them, brush the sides (dough part) with milk (or beaten egg) and bake the Flaounes at 190C (375F) for 25 to 30 minutes till they’re done, golden and the cheese filling is puffed up.


Let them cool on a rack. Serve them warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes 8 or 10 Flaounes, about the size of one’s palm. These pies keep for two days at room temperature in an airtight container. You can freeze the extras to eat later.
Your kiddies will love them! Crunchy and tasty. Period.

3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jayati. U never forget to drop me a line of encouragement. I am touched!

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