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RECIPES > MAIN MEALS

GREEK RICOTTA PIES

Television host and cook Helen Tzouganatos shares her mum’s gluten-free vegetarian recipe, Kalitsounia, ricotta and mint pies from Crete.

By Helen Tzouganatos
Gluten-free vegetarian recipe: kalitsounia, Greek ricotta pies
Helen Tzouganatos shares a precious recipe from her mother: ricotta mint pies that hail from the island of Crete.

 

Kalitsounia are small ricotta pies from my mother’s island of Crete. Each region in Crete has its own way of preparing them. They are enjoyed baked, fried, savoury or sweet with a drizzle of warm honey or dusting of cinnamon sugar. My mother has always preferred to bake her ricotta and mint kalitsounia, as it is the healthier way to cook them; and because the baked version stores well, she would often pack them in my school lunchbox for the next few days. You can shape the dough into frilly discs, like she does, or completely enclose the ricotta in pastry to form little crescents or squares.

MAKES: 16

Ingredients

    Olive oil pastry

  • Gluten-free plain flour

    260g (2 cups)

  • Gluten-free baking powder

    ½ tsp

  • Eggs (see note)

    2 large

  • Light olive oil

    125 ml (½ cup)

  • Pinch of sea salt flakes

    Filling

  • Fresh ricotta, well drained

    500g

  • Greek feta, crumbled

    200g

  • Egg

    1

  • Finely chopped mint leaves

    3 tbsp

  • Sea salt flakes

    1 tsp

  • Extra-virgin olive oil spray

  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method

STEP 1

To make the pastry, place the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Whisk the eggs and olive oil together in another bowl.

STEP 2

Add the egg mixture and 3 tbsp of warm water to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Use your hands to knead the dough for a minute to form a smooth ball. Cover the bowl and rest the dough in the fridge for 1 hour before using.

Note:

Using eggs of a different size may result in a dough that is too wet or too dry (add more flour or water respectively). Look for 600g egg cartons labelled ‘large’ with an average egg weight of 55g.

STEP 3

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

STEP 4

To make the filling, Combine the ricotta, feta, egg, mint and salt in a bowl.

STEP 5

Divide the olive oil pastry into four portions. Working with one portion at a time, carefully roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until it is paper thin (try not to break it).

STEP 6

Cut out four pastry rounds with an 11cm cutter. Spoon 2tbsp of the filling into the centre of each round and smooth out the filling, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Fold the pastry edge around the filling, pinching as you go to create a pleated border. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until you have 16 pies.

STEP 7

Transfer the pies to the prepared tray, spray the surface with olive oil and sprinkle over some sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pies are crispy and golden. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to three days and reheat prior to serving if you wish.

NUTRIENT ANALYSIS

Based on 16 serves, per serve: Energy: 910kJ; Protein: 6.5g; Fat: 14.5g; Saturated fat: 5.1g; Carbohydrate: 15g (1 exchange); Sodium: 304mg

Recipe from Gluten-Free Mediterranean by Helen Tzouganatos, Plum, 2023

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