(Traditional Cypriot Tahini Pies)
Tahini pies are made with Sesame pulp and cinnamon. These little pies are a popular street food in Cyprus. My fondest childhood memories of these were our family time on the beach. Street vendors would have large box like cases on their bicycle’s and would cycle along the beach selling them freshly made. You can a now find them in markets, grocery stores and bakeries. My mom has been making these for us since 1976 when we immigrated to Canada. She has shared this recipe with me and I am excited to share it with you. In the recipe below it calls for Mastic and Machlepi which both can be found in a Mediterranean grocery store. Do not worry if you are not able to find them as the dough is just as delicious. Hope you will enjoy it as much as my family does.
1 jar (500ml) Tahini, sesame pulp
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp carob syrup or molasses
4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp mastic powder (optional)
1/2 tsp machlepi powder (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp instant quick rise dry yeast
¾ cup sunflower oil
1 ¼ cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
Quality honey or Agave for drizzling
To make the dough, in a large glass bowl, add flour, mastic, machlepi, baking powder, salt, yeast. Mix all together. Add oil and mix until find crumb like texture. Gradually add the lukewarm water and knead for 5-6 mins until dough is soft and smooth. Place a tea towel over the bowl and let rest in a warm place for at least 45mins to 1 hour until dough has doubled.
To make the tahini, add all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375F and line a large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
On a clean working surface, separate the dough into 16 equal round balls. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and keep covered with a towel so they don't dry out and stay soft. Use a rolling pin or a manual pasta machine to roll out each piece 8x5 inches long. It is important that the sheets are rolled out very thin so you don’t have a thick texture when baked.
Spread 2 tbsp of the tahini mixture on top of each rolled out sheet ensuring that all area is covered. Roll length wise tightly like a long thin cigar. Take the two ends and swirl so they have a rope like shape. As you roll, tap the dough done to stretch and thin it out more. Roll the one end to the other forming a round wheel. Press down on top with your hand to flatten slightly. There will be some tahini mixture that might squeeze out when pressing. This is ok as it will coat a bit of the top and it will taste great. You can reserve some tahini mixture to drizzle on top before baking.
Place them on the lined baking sheets about an inch apart. Depending on your oven, bake them for about 35 – 45 minutes until golden brown. I have a gas oven so I needed to bake them for the exact 45 minutes.
While they are hot out of the oven, drizzle each pita with two tablespoons of honey or agave ensuring you cover all of the pita. Let cool slightly and enjoy.
Once cooled completely, they can be stored in an air tight container for up to 24 hours or you can freeze them. When ready to serve, thaw at room temperature and serve.
SERVINGS 16 pies | PREP & COOK TIME 2 hours