GREECE

I simply love honey. And cheesecake. So once I decided that this week I’ll be making something from Greece, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. The only problem was that I wasn’t quite sure if what I had in mind existed and was an authentic Greek dessert. But it seemed pretty plausible. Greek sweets are always somehow associated with honey, but also with nuts and filo dough. Still, I soon happily discovered that this recipe did not only exist in my mind and I  was able to make  my very own honey and cheese cake – Sifnopitta.

Sifnopitta

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Originally, the recipe called for a Greek cheese called Mizithra, similar to ricotta (which I used instead). This cheesecake really is a must try for any cheesecake or honey lover, as it beautifully combines the two flavors in a soft, creamy filling. So here is the recipe.

Ingredients

225g, 2 cups plain flour, sifted with pinch of salt
30ml, 2 tbspn caster sugar
115g, 1/2 cup unsalted butter
45-60ml, 3-4 tbspn cold water

Filling

4 eggs
50g, 1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbspn plain flour
500g, 2 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
4 tbspn Greek honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Prepare and line with greased baking paper a 25cm (10-inch) round springform baking tin.
  2. To make the pastry, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Rub the butter in to the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture clings together and forms dough.  Make sure it is not too wet.  Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 °C, 350 °F, gas 4.
  4. Roll out the pastry until fairly thin on a lightly floured surface and line the baking tin. Make sure the pastry goes into the edges and up the sides. Trim any excess pastry.
  5. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the caster sugar and the flour and beat until fluffy. Add the cheese, honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and beat until well mixed. Pour the cheese mixture into the pastry lined tin and level. Bake in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until it is light golden. Remove from the oven and, using a sieve, dust quarter to half a teaspoon of cinnamon over the top whilst still hot.

(Recipe adapted from Ultimate Guide to Greek Food)

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Variations

  • One variation to this cheese cake recipe is to make individual little tarts instead of one tart, although you may need more pastry than this recipe requires.
  • Sometimes the Greeks will put some fruit on top during cooking to decorate the top. 5-10 minutes before the cake is ready, take it out of the oven, place some very thin slices of fruit such as apricots or peach on top of the cake, push into the top slightly.
  • I used whole-wheat flour for the pastry and it turned out great.

You can find the recipe for a healthier version of Sifnopitta at my new blog Healthy National Desserts.

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