When I started experimenting with this recipe I had no idea, how I was going to fill, roll or shape it. Halloumi pies (“Halloumoti” in Greek) are usually shaped as individual pies, not as a large one like this. But, since it was one of those I-don’t-even-have-time-to-take-a-p day, I decided to get on with it and bake a large one.
This experiment turned out to be a huge success. This is an amazing savoury pie, full of halloumi, fresh mint and anari (Cypriot ricotta cheese). The addition of Greek yogurt, makes the filling creamy and delicious, one would think I added white sauce in there. The pastry is soft and fluffy inside but crunchy on the outside. And it needs no proofing since it’s done with baking powder, not yeast.
You can make these into individual pies if you prefer but, this one huge pan thing is perfect and takes half the time. If it breaks in places don’t worry. The gorgeous filling will ooze out but as it cooks it will become golden and delicious.
For the filling:
- 250 g anari cheese (or ricotta)
- 100 g strained Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 500 g halloumi cheese, grated
- 2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped (you can substitute dried mint)
For the dough:
- 650 g unbleached all-purpose flour (“horiatiko” for Cypriots)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 200 g strained Greek yogurt
- 200 ml olive oil
- 250 ml fresh orange juice
- 1 egg for glazing
- 2 Tbs sesame seeds for sprinkling
Preheat oven at 180 C fan. Line the base of a 30 cm round baking pan with greaseproof paper.
Make the filling: Put anari in a large bowl and smash it with a fork. Add yogurt, eggs slightly beaten, grated halloumi and mint. Mix well.
Make the dough: Put flour baking powder, salt, yogurt, olive oil and orange juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Blend until dough forms a ball. You can also so this in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. If you are kneading by hand, first rub the dry ingredients with the olive oil, then add the yogurt and juice.
Divide dough and filling in 2 equal parts (see note). Roll dough into a 30 x 50 cm rectangle. Using a pizza wheel, cut dough in ribbons, at 3 cm intervals, starting from about the centre of the dough. Do not cut dough all the way (see photo).
Spread half the filling over the solid part of the dough. Roll up, starting from the long side, creating a 50 cm long log. Roll the log into a snail and place in the centre of a 30 cm round baking pan.
Repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Place second log around the spiral.
Brush the entire surface of the pie with beaten egg. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let pie cool in the pan.
Note: You might find it more manageable to divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces. You will still create a snail shaped pie, but with more joined pieces.