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Cypriot flaounes (pilavuna)

Cypriot flaouna (pilavuna)

PT1H

I know today’s bake recipe very well, as I lived in Cyprus for six years where I taught part-time in the local British Forces Education Centre, as well as running a busy Taverna-style restaurant. We only served Cypriot food, and as we were situated near Pyla, the bi-communal village of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, we served both Greek and Turkish Cypriot food.

These little egg and cheese buns are a favourite of mine; known as Easter or Ramadan celebratory bread, but in reality you could buy them for most of the year. I have never made them before, but a yearning for them the other day drove me to some of my Cypriot cookbooks and the kitchen to make a batch.

Commonly called Flaounes outside of Cyprus, which is the Greek name for them, we must also acknowledge the Turkish Cypriot name for them, which is Pilavuna. I have seen them on both sides of the Island and they are often served for breakfast, Cypriot style, with a Cypriot coffee, cheese, tomatoes and always a handful of black olives.

They are quite tricky to make, and although the normal shape for them is square or triangular, I have seen them shaped in rounds, as mine are today. You need to make the bread dough first, that acts as a ‘bread pastry’ casing for the filling, which is cheese, eggs and mint. Traditionally you would use Cypriot cheeses in the filling such as flaouna cheese and halloumi, but as it is hard to get flaouna cheese outside of Cyprus, I have offered alternatives.

I hope you enjoy these little Cypriot pastries if you make them, if you have a sweet tooth, you can also add sultanas to the filling, but I prefer them completely savoury.

Ingredients

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1
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2
Sift the flour into a food mixer bowl and add the remaining ingredients, adding more water if the mixture is too dry. Knead for 5 minutes with a dough hook or 10 minutes by hand. Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with an oiled piece of cling film. Leave in warm place to rise for 1 hour
3
To make the filling, mix 3 of the eggs with the remaining ingredients. Add the last egg if needed – you don't want the final mixture to be too runny. If you add the final egg and it gets too runny, add more cheese and flour to compensate. The mixture should be stiff enough to roll into balls
4
Roll out the dough and cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll out each piece to a square or a round and place a ball of filling in the middle. Bring the corners up to almost cover the filling
5
Brush the pastries with the beaten egg all over and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and sides
6
Place the pastries on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until the pastries are well risen, dark golden brown and the filling has puffed up
7
Serve warm or cold; perfect for breakfast when sliced and served with olives, cheese and sliced tomatoes
Flaounes

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