Flaounes: Our Easter Cheese Pies
Easter is a wonderful period filled with beautiful customs, colours and scents and a lot of baking! The star of the Easter flavors is Flaouna, a cheese-filled pastry carrying a long history.
The ancestor of Flaouna is “palathi”, an ancient Greek pie with figs, which was offered to children when they visited neighbouring houses and sang announcing the arrival of spring. The corresponding Roman name was “fladonis”, which later evolved to the Anglo-Saxon “flaon”, today’s “flan”.
Good Saturday is the day for kneading and baking flaounes (pl), although some prefer to make them on Good Thursday or Good Friday. The preparation starts a day before. First, “foukos” (the filling) has to be prepared. It consists of grated cheese mixed with eggs, leaven, mastic, fresh mint and mahlepi (made of St Lucie cherry seeds). In some areas they add raisins and sugar for a hint of sweetness! The following day the dough is kneaded using both hard and soft flour, mixed with sourdough, warm water, corn oil, salt, mastic and mahlepi. The dough is rolled out into small pancakes, a spoonful of the “foukos” is placed in the middle and then is folded into a triangular or a square individual pie.
In some villages in the Pafos district, they make Paskies. These are similar to Flaounes but instead of cheese they use sheep meat and instead of fresh mint they use onions, pepper, salt and cinnamon.
If you are in Cyprus during Easter period try Flaounes and Paskies, that are definitely the tastiest Easter delicacies on the island.