Cretan cuisine is all about the pies with a variety of delicious fillings, usually based on cheese and wild greens. One of the Cretan pies you simply must try is the Sfakian pie, coming from the region of Sfakia in Chania, a simple but absolutely delicious snack made of the best local products: cheese and honey! The good thing about Sfakian pies is that you do not need to travel all the way to Sfakia to taste them (although this would be the ideal setting), but you can also find them in every part of Crete. Plus, it is so easy to prepare them, you can also make them at home! Ideally, you will be using Cretan white cheese (either xinomizithra or pichtogalo), but if it is not possible, almost any type of soft white cheese will do (for example, you can try ricotta).
Are you ready to try making this yummy Cretan delicacy at home? First, gather the basics at your kitchen counter: a non-stick frying pan, a mixer’s bowl, and the following ingredients:
- 1 large cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of raki
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Lukewarm water (as much as needed)
- 250 gr xinomizithra, or any type of white cheese
- Thyme honey to serve (as much as you want!)
First, you need to prepare the dough by mixing the flour, raki, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl, adding water until you get a soft dough. Knead for 3-5 minutes, until the dough becomes elastic but non-sticky. Add flour if needed. When ready, cover the bowl with a towel, and let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Place the cheese in another bowl, and mix it a bit with a fork. Then, take the dough and divide it into 10 small balls (about the size of a tennis ball). Using a rolling pin and a bit of flour, roll out each dough ball into a round, thin sheet.
Add a spoonful of cheese at the center of each dough sheet and then wrap it like a pouch. Finally, lightly roll it out again into a round sheet, using a rolling pin. Now you have the delicious cheese filling, and you are ready to fry!
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a non-stick frying pan and fry each pie on medium heat from both sides, until they are golden. You may need to add a bit of olive oil each time you add more pies. Serve your homemade Sfakian pies hot, garnished with a generous amount of honey.