If there ain’t no party like a West Coast party ’cause a West Coast party don’t stop, then there is definitely no dinner party like a Cretan dinner party because you will never, ever, ever want the food to stop. And I am pretty sure Coolio would agree with me that these kalitsounia are proof positive that cooks from Crete are not effing around. Part custard treat, part tart, part muffin, these bite sized treats defy your dessert definitions. My favorite part of making these is the reminder of how perfectly unpersnickety Greek pastry is–this dough is forgiving and easy to work with, and the filling practically pulls itself together.
This was my first time at the kalitsounia party, so I borrowed heavily from this recipe, and my teensy tweaks are reflected below. I also benefited tremendously from MamaKef’s compulsive gift giving–these guys are a great reason to whip out your 48-count muffin tin again and the Cake Boss Linzer cookie cutter kit (sans cutout attachment) was PERFECT for creating perfectly-sized dough rounds with pretty scalloped edges. But, as always, these are mere suggestions and you just go ahead and do whatever your heart desires.
For the dough
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 1/2 c Greek yogurt, left to sit in colander/strainer for ~10 min to reduce liquid
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c sugar
- 3.5-4.5 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
- juice of 1/2 orange
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 15 oz of soft myzithra cheese (you will prob have to live in NY, Baltimore, Toronto, or Melbourne to find this outside of Greece– for the rest of us, ricotta worked just fine for me)
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 eggs and 1 egg white
- 1 tsp cinammon
For the topping
- 2 eggs
- 1 TBS water
- 1 TBS cinnamon
- Using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer, combine olive oil, sugar, yogurt and eggs in a large bowl. Add in the orange juice, lemon zest and vanilla and blend again until just combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, mix well, and then add gradually dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Knead the dough with your hands, until it softens. You may need to add flour–the dough should be soft and pliable, but not stick to your hands. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and set the dough aside to rest for at least 30 minutes- no need to chill.
- Using either a rubber spatula or a standing mixer, combine sugar, eggs and cinnamon until well mixed.
- Preheat oven to 350F, lightly grease a mini-muffin tin. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/10 of an inch (good on you if you have any idea what a tenth of an inch is–I just went with “as thin as I could get it without its being see through”). Use a 6-inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds.
- Drop one round into each minimuffin slot. Fill with about 1-1.5 tsp filling. Whisk together egg and water, then brush the top of each pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top of each with cinnamon.
- Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool in pan, then pop out and enjoy– these are even better when served the next day!