TAHINOPITES: Tahini, Cinnamon, and Walnut Cookies, in Lemon Syrup

Traditionally made in Cyprus before Easter, during the spring Lent – when all foods deriving from animals are prohibited – tahinopites are 6-7-inch round, syrupy breads, coiled and stuffed with a tahini mixture. As the coiled tahinopites bake, the thin layer of dough cracks and the stuffing oozes out, caramelizing; these crunchy, darkened, sugary tahini bits are the best bites.

Why not have more of the best parts of the pie? I decided to shape the dough differently in order to increase the caramelized area. The results are bite-size, cookie-like tahinopites — a kind of Eastern Mediterranean Cinnamon Rolls. It is important to get the highest quality tahini paste for these cookies. They taste best made a day in advance.  As they cool, they absorb and fully incorporate the lemony syrup.

Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts

Makes about 56 cookies

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Bread Stuffed with Figs and Brown Sugar

Fig Bread cut SServe as dessert, with xynomysithra –the tangy ricotta-like fresh cheese from Chania, Crete. It is great for breakfast with yogurt and fruits, but can also be paired with aged and spicy cheeses. It is wonderful with gorgonzola and kopanisti –the Greek fermented cheese– especially complemented with Vinsanto of Santorini, with Mavrodaphne of Patras or port wine, but also with my aromatic lemon liqueur. (more…)

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Olive and Onion rolls in Orange-Olive Oil Pastry (Eliopita)

The original recipe was given to me many years ago, by Zoe Evangelou; the recipe was revised by Vali Manouelides, while later I came up with the idea to make bite-size eliopites, as by cutting the roll into thin slices the stuffing often falls off.

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See below my new variation  for rolls and pies  made with the yeasted  Yellow Spicy Bread Dough.

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Makes about 60 meze bites (more…)

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Yellow, Spicy Griddle Crackers

Based on my usual bread dough to which I substituted cornmeal for the barley, and added a lot more spices, especially turmeric and cumin, which give it a warm, earthy flavor and a vivid yellow color to make the Yellow Spicy Bread.

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For these irresistible, crispy crackers we shaped part of the dough into thin oval pita-like pieces and baked them on the saç! Our latest love affair with the hot-plate I brought from Istanbul inspired us to make other savory and sweet dishes pies, besides these crispy breads.

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The crackers can be easily baked on any griddle or skillet. Depending on the size of the one you will use, take smaller pieces of dough, and flatten them so that they can easily fit on your griddle or hot-plate.

Makes 16 large crackers

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Yellow, Spicy Bread

This is a bread with bold flavor, based on my usual dough to which I substituted cornmeal for the barley, and added a lot more spices, especially turmeric and cumin, which give it a warm, earthy flavor and a vivid yellow color.

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You can shape it into loaves, or you can use the dough to make olive-and-leek-stuffed rolls, or larger pies.

The irresistible, crispy crackers that we created baking thin oval pita-like pieces of dough on the saç our favorites! Our latest love affair with the hot-plate I brought from Istanbul inspired us to make these yellow crackers, as well as other savory and sweet dishes. The crispy breads can be easily baked on a griddle. Depending on the size of the one you can use take out pieces of dough and flatten then so that they fit on your hot-plate.

Yields 2-3 medium loaves, or laganes –focaccia-like breads

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