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Tahinopita (Tahini pie)

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A Tahinopita is a sweet pastry that is made of tahini paste (roasted sesame seed puree), with local carob syrup. Although enjoyed all year round, they are particularly popular during Lent.

You can find them at any local bakery, and despite being sweet, they have a very unusual taste. They often include mastic and cinnamon, however, commercial versions may use sugar instead of the healthier carob syrup.

Recipe

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in the instant yeast, mastiha, sugar, cinnamon and mahlepi (see note for “flaounes” page 16). Make a hole in the middle and pour in the oil. Mix using your hands so that the oil is absorbed and the mixture becomes moist. Add the water and knead the mixture into a smooth dough (add more water or flour if necessary). You can use a mixer if your prefer but use the kneading blades only. Cover the dough with a dish cloth and leave at room temperature for an hour until it doubles in volume. You can check if it is ready by pressing the dough with a finger. An indentation should remain. Mix the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Separate the dough into 8 portions and knead each 1 into a ball, leaving the others covered so that they do not dry out, open out 1 of the patties and roll into a thin layer. It should measure about 40cm by 12cm. Spoon in a thick layer of the filling (1½- 2 heaped tablespoons) leaving an approximately 2cm edge free. Then wrap the pastry into a tight roll, starting from the longest side. Twist it into a snail-shell-like shape and place it onto a baking tray. Do the same for the other pieces of dough. Cover tray with a dish cloth and allow to sit and rise for about ½ an hour. If you have left over filling, mix it with some extra tahini and thinly spread it on top of the tahinopites. If not, just brush on some tahini mixed with carob syrup. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until they begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the tahinopites to cool on a metal wrack.

Ingredients: (for 8 pies):

½kg village flour
and some extra to sprinkle
the work surface
1 sachet instant yeast
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
(approx.)
½ level tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
½ tsp mahlepi, crushed
½ tsp mastiha, crushed
1 tbsp cinnamon

For the filling:

1 ½ cup tahini
and a bit extra
5 tbsps carob syrup and
½ tbsp extra if needed
1 tsp cinnamon