Tahinopita is a Cypriot sweet filled with tahini, cinnamon and sugar and is very different from the cake version with the same name. It is an ideal food during fasting periods as there are no eggs or oil in apart from the natural oil that is produced from the tahini itself. It is perfect for breakfast, a snack or with your coffee as it is both healthy and nutritious.

In order to make tahini pies, we must first prepare the yeast. The yeast is diluted in a bowl, with sugar and a little water. The mixture is stirred and then it is covered for 10 minutes so that the yeast is activated. When the surface of the mixture begins to froth it is ready and the flour is added. The two types of flour are placed in a bowl, along with the salt and are all mixed together. The salt, cinnamon, mastic and the mahlab are added. They are all mixed together and a hole is made in the middle. Pour the activated yeast along with some water (about 1, 5 cups). Mix all together until a ball is formed.

Place the dough on the counter and mould for about 7 – 8 minutes until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Put the dough in a bowl with a little oil, cover it and let it rise for about 40 minutes. In the meantime prepare the stuffing. Place tahini, sugar, cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a spoon. After the dough has risen, divide it into 7 pieces, and form balls with it. Cover the balls so that they do not dry out.

Take the balls one by one and open the dough with a thick rolling pin, into a long sheet of about 30 cm x 12 cm. Place about 2 table spoons of filling along the length of the sheet and spread. Spread the filling to the whole piece of the sheet leaving a gap of about 1 cm around it. Then fold the sheet. Turn it to the long side of the sheet so that you cover the 2/3 of it and cover it with the other 1 /3. Now a long roll has been formed. Stretch the dough and fold it in half, then form it into a roll of about 80cm. The roll mustn’t have any flour on it otherwise it will not be able to roll. If tahini comes out of the dough the pies will be even tastier so don’t worry about that.

Take the two sides of the roll and twist them well into the shape of a snail. Do this for all the balls and flatten them with a rolling pin so that they become a bit wider (about 15cm). Place them on a baking tray with greaseproof paper and allow them to rise for about 30 minutes. Cook them at 150°C, for about 35 to 40 minutes until they are golden.

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