Tahini Pie

tahini pie2

Definitely one of the most delicious, traditional Cypriot recipes. Tahini pie is probably one of the most grossing items in any bakery store in Cyprus. It’s a sweet pastry coil filled with creamy tahini and cinnamon. I absolutely love it, so creating a simpler version for the home baker was something I really wanted to create.

tahini pie6

Of course, there is a limit to how simple you can go when creating a tahini pie. Part of it’s beauty is the way tahini blends with the pastry and sometimes even oozes out and caramelizes in the oven. So there is always some rolling involved. But baking a single larger pie instead of many smaller ones, will make your life (and this pie) a lot less complicated.

tahini pie

I added lots of crushed almonds which I absolutely love with tahini. I baked it in a 23 cm round cake pan, but you can experiment with a 20 cm pan and achieve a taller pie. Whatever you do, you will love this recipe, just as I love it too. For me it’s the proper way to welcome autumn. And the official ending to bikini season. So, let’s bake.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp dried active yeast
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup water

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cups tahini paste
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs carob honey (you can substitute 1½ Tbs honey)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coarsely ground almonds

For the syrup

  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 3 Tbs water

Method

Make the dough: Mix flours, yeast, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add water and olive oil and pulse until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough into an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 1 hour. The dough will inflate and rise.

Make the filling by mixing everything together in a bowl, except the almonds. If you are using carob honey in the filling then you will notice that the tahini thickens as you add it. If mixture is too thick (as tahini paste density varies depending on brand), then add ¼ tsp baking soda to the mixture. The soda will loosen it slightly making it easier for you to spread on the dough.

Make the tahini pie: Take a 23cm (9 inch) cake pan with removable sides. Line the base with greaseproof paper.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle measuring about a 40 x 50 cm. Dough will be thin, and this is what you want. Spread the entire surface of the rectangle with the tahini filling. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons ground almonds.

Start rolling the dough like a swiss roll starting from the longest side. Use a silicon scraper or a spatula to lift the dough if necessary. Cut roll in the middle to create two roughly equal rolls.

Take one roll and roll it with your hands to elongate it, to about 60-65cm. Twist the roll and turn it into a coil. Place coil in the prepared pan.

Repeat process with the other piece of dough. Elongate, then twist it and place it around the coil in the pan (see pics). Cover with a cotton towel and let pie sit for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175 C (360 F).

Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes until risen and golden.

tahini pie3

Make the syrup while pie bakes. Dissolve honey in the water. As soon as the pie comes out of the oven, use a pastry brush to brush it’s entire surface with the syrup. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.

Cool to room temperature. Remove from the baking tin, transfer to a serving platter, slice and serve.

9 thoughts on “Tahini Pie

  1. I was super excited to find this recipe! I lived in Lefkosia years ago and my favorite thing in the world was the tahini pies from our neighborhood bakery. I have been chasing the memory of those perfect tachinopittes ever since. So far, my attempts to replicate them in the US have been unsuccessful, but the recipes I started with didn’t look anything like those from my bakery (too bready, too doughy?). Your recipe looks closer… so I have hope.

    However, you said you adapted/simplified this recipe for the home baker. What did you change?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So excited you are going to try this recipe! I worked on this for a very long time. I even went to a village once and observed these skill-full women, rolling and twisting the dough. The secret to an authentic tahini pie lies in the twisting. You must twist the dough before you create the coil. This helps the tahini blend with the pastry, which makes it less doughy and bready.
      My version is simpler cause instead of many small ones, I made one large (less twisting!). I even baked it in a pan to keep the round shape. I also used a little carob honey and bee honey in the filling which is not the traditional way to sweeten the filling. In fact, white granulated sugar is used by most bakers.
      Try to roll the dough thinly. It doesn’t matter if the dough tears when you are twisting it. The tahini will ooze out in places but will set and caramelise in the oven. Use the best quality tahini paste you can find.
      I do hope you like my tahini pie. I would appreciate your feedback and comments. Good luck! 🙂

      Like

      1. Excellent! I hope I will get close to this elusive ideal: crispy and almost flaky, yet brioche-like, with the tahini almost embedded in the dough but caramelized in places. I wondered if the secret wasn’t to mix or laminate the tahini with the dough. (I forget the name of the bakery, which is probably no longer open, but the ones Costa coffee sells are an extreme version of this type of tahini pie.) I see you have olive oil in the dough itself and, as you mention, thin and twisted layers of dough tightly coiled together – that just might be the secret.

        I wondered if white or brown/demerara sugar was most typically used in these, as it was hard to tell for when I ate them. I have my answer!

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  2. Made them last night! I tagged you on Instagram so you can see the results (and some process pictures in my story).
    These were *so* close to what I remembered. Lots of fun to make, but the real joy was in the eating. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Changes made: no wholemeal flour available, but I did have durum (village) flour to use in its place. Needed a bit more flour, about 50g, to keep the dough from sticking. Added some mahlepi to the dough, but no other changes there.

    Rolled the dough out super thinly – got about a 60 x 90 cm sheet – which means I needed tons more tahini filling. Not a bad problem to have. I stuck to a blend of white and brown sugar, cinnamon, and just a hint of maple syrup (my personal touch, perhaps the issue) for the filling, in the proportions you used. This became very thick and somewhat challenging to spread, and baking soda didn’t seem to help. Next time, I may spread the tahini and cinnamon-sugar in two consecutive layers to help distribution and because, to replicate the not so healthy bakery pies, I found the filling could’ve been even sweeter.

    I used a sugar simple syrup and brushed it onto the pies, with a dusting of more sugar-cinnamon mixture, and let the pies bake a few minutes more for a crusty sugary finish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! You really did some work 🙂 I know it’s frustrating when tahini becomes too thick to spread especially when you have a really thin dough. What makes tahini thick is the addition of brown sugar and honey/carob honey or maple syrup. If you try this with only white sugar, the tahini shouldn’t thicken as much.
      I don’t like things too sweet that’s why I go easy on the sugar. My sister makes small individual tahini pies and dips them in syrup just as they come out of the oven.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed the process and this recipe. I really appreciate your feedback and comments 🙂

      Like

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