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Sweet Cheese Pastries - Kalitsounia - Step by Step with Photos

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Kalitsounia Sweet Cheese Pastries
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

(Text-only recipe)

These fabulous sweet cheese pastries are like mini cheesecakes, but they are definitely Greek - and more specifically, Cretan. The Greek island of Crete is famous for kalitsounia (say: kah-leet-SOON-yah) made with fresh Cretan myzithra cheese - which is soft (as opposed to the hard aged salty type). {If you can't find myzithra cheese, try Italian ricotta, farmer's cheese, or French Neufchatel.)

Ingredients:

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of unflavored strained yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of brandy

FOR THE FILLING

  • 1 2/3 pounds of fresh soft myzithra cheese (or other unsalted sweet cheese)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

TOPPINGS

  • ground cinnamon (for baked pastries)
  • confectioner's sugar (optional for fried pastries)
  • honey (optional for fried pastries)
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