"These kalitsounia are made all over Crete and every region has its distinct way of doing them," says John Rerakis. "The cheese and mint kalitsounia, which are rectangular and small, are also used as a dessert or for breakfast, drizzled with honey or dusted with sugar. The people from the region of Hania also make flat cheese kalitsounia, which have myzithra cheese in the centre and are fried in a pan like pancakes," says John Rerakis.
- 500 gm firm ricotta
- 250 gm Greek feta, coarsely crumbled
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped mint
- 1 egg
- 525 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting (3½ cups)
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 1For kalitsounia pastry, combine flour, olive oil, lemon juice and 250ml lukewarm water in a bowl and mix with your hands to form a soft pliable dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then place in a plastic bag and put in freezer to rest (1 hour).
- 2Combine cheeses, mint and egg in a bowl, season to taste and mix until smooth.
- 3Lightly flour dough and roll through a pasta machine on the widest setting, then flour again and roll through pasta machine several times on the fourth setting to form a long strip 3mm thick and 15cm wide. Place pastry on a lightly floured surface with a long side facing you. Place a heaped tablespoon of cheese mixture in centre of pastry 4cm in from a short end, then repeat along pastry at 8cm intervals. Spread each portion of filling to form a rough 4cm x 2cm rectangle with long sides of filling parallel to short ends of pastry. Fold the bottom third of pastry up to cover filling, brush edge lightly with water, fold top third of pastry down to enclose filling, then press gently to seal. Press around filling with your fingers to seal again, then cut between filling to form 8cm x 4cm pillows. Place in a single layer on a tray lined with a tea towel.
- 4Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry kalitsounia in batches, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper, season to taste and serve hot.