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Ingredients

For the pastry

For the topping

  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  • STEP 1

    If you have time, make the filling 2-3 hrs ahead so it develops more flavour. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the grated cheese with the semolina, then make a well in the middle, tip in the yeast and 1 tbsp of the beaten egg. Mix to combine, then add the remaining egg – the mixture will be fairly firm. Add the sugar, baking powder, mint and sultanas or raisins, then mix again until the fruit is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside to rest until needed.

  • STEP 2

    For the pastry, combine the flour, baking powder, mastic and mahlepi (if using) and the sugar. Tip in the oil and rub this into the flour mixture using your fingertips, then gradually mix in the milk (you may not need it all) until you have a soft dough. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rest for 1 hr.

  • STEP 3

    For the topping, tip the sesame seeds into a fine sieve, rinse with cold water, drain and spread out on a clean tea towel to dry slightly. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Once the dough has rested, divide it into six pieces, about 80g each. Roll each out on a lightly floured surface into a 16cm disc, about ¼cm thick. Lay each disc on the sesame seeds (on one side only) so they stick.

  • STEP 4

    Divide the filling into six and shape into balls (about 65g each). Place one ball of filling into the middle of each pastry disc on its plain side. Lift the left and right edges of the pastry over the filling so it slightly overlaps it at the edges, leaving the middle exposed. Repeat with the top and bottom edges.

  • STEP 5

    Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 15 mins. Reduce the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and bake for 15-20 mins more until golden and risen in the middle.

Recipe tips

Flaouna cheese made using sheep or goat’s milk is available in specialist grocers at this time of year. It’s mild like pecorino and is often mixed with halloumi for flaounes. Using cheddar will give you a saltier taste.

Mastic gum or mastiha is the resin from a shrub of the same name native to the Greek island of Chios. It is sold as crystals or granules.

Mahlepi is made from the ground kernels of pips from cherry trees – they are an aromatic, fruity spice, shaped like seeds, and often used in breads and pastries in Greece and Cyprus.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2022

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