Around mid-January, as the new olives are almost ready, I try to find ways to use-up the olives of years passed.
This fragrant Eliopita, with an unusual, delicious, easy dough of olive oil and orange juice, is the first thing that comes to mind. It is much simpler than the common olive breads, and much more enticing. The original recipe was given to me many years ago by Zoe Evangelou whom I had met at my friend Roxani Matsa’s winery in Kantza. I made the pie several times, and included it in one of my early Greek books. Later, the recipe was revised by Vali Manouelides, another friend, who instead of the original large loaf, divided the dough and filling to shape smaller logs that were easier to cut and serve as finger food.
A couple of years ago, I started making bite-size eliopites cutting the unbaked roll into slices and turning the pieces to form small, somewhat irregular pinwheels. Having neither cheese nor egg to bind the filling and dough together and prevent crumbling, this way of shaping keeps the stuffing from falling off, as it usually does when the baked rolls are divided. I feel that this last variation of my favorite eliopita is definitely the best!
You can also use the same filling to make little rolls or triangle, empanada-shaped pasties with any kind of yeasted bread dough, if you happen to have some around, as I often do (see the Variation at the end of the recipe).