Recipe for peace: Flaouna (CYPRUS)

As part of our Recipes for peace series, each week we feature an inspiring dish to celebrate the varied - and tasty - ways in which food can play a role in building peace.

This week’s recipe comes from our Web Development Officer Andy Kyriakides, to mark Orthodox Easter weekend in Cyprus.

Andy's flaouna recipe (CYPRUS)

Flaouna or flaounes in the plural (Greek: φλαούνα; Turkish: pilavuna) is a Cypriot food which is made by both communities who have been in conflict for 60 years. It is usually associated with the ending of the lenten fast (in the Greek Orthodox tradition) or Ramadan in the Turkish Muslim tradition. It's a food of celebration, crossing the divide between two physically separate communities.

Growing up in a Cypriot household, flaounes were made every Easter, usually involving the whole family helping. Over Easter, we’d meet up with relatives and swap flaounes – every family had their own little inflextions of the recipe so we’d share and compare!

One thing about Cypriot cooking is that they would always make far too much than just enough, so there were always plenty of flaounes to go round – those we didn’t eat, we would freeze and eat throughout the year.

Ingredients – makes around  6 large flaounes

For the filling

  • 500 g cheese – usually a mixture of halloumi and mild cheddar (although you can use other cheeses like gruyere, anari or other hard sheep/goats cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 table spoon dried mint
  • 130 g sultanas
  • 1 tea spoon baking powder

For the dough

  • 500 g strong white flour (or plain flour)
  • 1 sachet dried yeast (about 7 g)
  • 1 tea spoon mastic powder (available in continental food stores)
  • 2 tea spoon mahlab
  • 1 tea spoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80 ml warm milk
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 125 g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

For the glaze

  • 1–2 eggs, beaten
  • 150 g sesame seeds

Cooking instructions
 

Filling

  1. Grate the cheeses finely and place into a bowl.
  2. Add the sultanas, dried mint and 2 beaten eggs and mix together.
  3. Cover with a cloth and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
  4. Add the baking powder.

Dough

  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt and mastic and mahlab (if using) into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the melted butter and stir.
  3. Add one egg and stir.
  4. Add the other egg, warm milk and warm water and stir to bring everything together.
  5. If the mixture is a bit wet, add some more flour and form into a ball.
  6. Cover with a cloth and leave for one hour to rise.

To put together

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Spread the sesame seeds out onto a dinner plate.
  3. Beat a couple of eggs to form a wash.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into 18-20 cm diameter circles.
  5. Brush the egg wash over one side of the dough and press the egg side down into the sesame seeds.
  6. Grab a handful of the cheese filling and form into a bowl. Place in the centre of the dough.
  7. Apply more egg wash around the filling onto the pasty and then bring the sides up pressing into the cheese ball to form a triangle, pinching the corners together.
  8. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook in the oven for 30–40 minutes until golden and serve warm.

Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyKyr.

Photo: Courtesy of Alpha, Creative Commons