I grew up eating “halloumoti”. I used to share one with my friends on our way to school. Our 35-minute walk to school every morning was the highlight of our day. Gossiping and giggling along the way, taking a bite of the “halloumoti” in turns. This halloumi filled pastry is Cypriot food at its best.
It’s so aromatic with all that fresh mint but I think the caramelized onion does the trick. I also added some “anari” (Cyprus ricotta) in the filling for that extra creaminess. Orange juice in the dough is not traditional but it really works. Just make sure you use freshly squeezed oranges. You can of course substitute with water but I highly recommend using the juice. “Halloumoti” comes in various shapes but I like the round ones with the scoring. This way, you know exactly how much you are supposed to eat. Having said that, I never stop until I finish the whole round!
Ingredients for the dough:
- 500 grams unbleached bread flour (village flour for Cypriots)
- 1 tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup water at room temperature
For the filling
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 400 grams halloumi cheese, cut in 1 cm cubes
- 100 grams fresh “anari” cheese or ricotta
- 2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped
For the glaze:
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
Make the dough: Place flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl of a food processor, fitted with a dough hook. Mix briefly to combine. Add the salt and mix again. Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil, orange juice and water. Mix gently until dough starts to come together and forms a ball. Keep mixing, about 5 minutes, until dough is soft and elastic.
Transfer dough into an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave dough to proof for 2-3 hours.
Make the filling: In a small frying pan place the onion and olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion stirring often, until soft and golden in colour. This may take up to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the halloumi, anari or ricotta, and mint. Add the cooled onion and mix again.
Assemble and cook the pastries: Preheat oven to 200 C, fan. Divide proofed dough in 4 equal pieces. On a floured surface roll one piece of dough to a 20 x 30 cm rectangle. Spread ¼ of the filling on the dough.
Starting on the longer side of the dough, start rolling, encasing the filling, until you have a log. Roll the log to elongate it slightly and make sure it’s sealed. Brush some of the beaten egg on one of the edges of the log. Turn the log to create a circle and seal the two edges together.
Place the circle on a paper lined baking tray. Using a small, sharp knife make 6 small slits on the perimeter of the halloumoti.
Repeat process with the other 3 pieces of dough. Brush pastries with the egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like. Let pastries stand for 30 minutes.
After half an hour, bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Let them cool for 15-30 minutes before devouring.