Cypriot Eliopitakia (Cyprus Olive Pies)
This is hands down one of my most favourite recipe developments of all time. It took me numerous attempts to get this recipe just right, more so for the dough than anything else. Well, after all the blood, sweat and tears (maybe not blood, but do oven burns count?) here it FINALLY is. The ULTIMATE eliopitakia recipe (and I don’t say that lightly). Reminiscent of Cyprus ? Yep. Fragrant and delicious? Indeed. Moreish? You betcha.
Now if you know your olives, you’ll know kalamata olives are the way to go. Their flavour and texture is perfect for this recipe, a beautiful olive pie requires a beautifully tasting olive- super important! Thus, I insist that at least two-thirds of the olives you include in your olive mixture are kalamata. I tend to use 300g of pitted kalamata olives and 150g of regular pitted black olives, just to keep the cost down but without losing the kalamata taste- these olives aren’t cheap! But saying that, neither are my taste buds. Compromise is key, people.
Do I recommend you pit hundreds of olives? Absolutely not. Pitted olives of all kinds can be found online, so do yourself a favour and save yourself the blood (slip of the knife) sweat (depends on the season) and tears (it gets TRAGICALLY monotonous) of doing this never ending task (I speak from experience as I’m sure you can tell).
Now let’s discuss the endless reasons why you have to definitely attempt this recipe.
They’re freezable for use at a later date.
They’re a great snack to have lying around.
They’re aromatic and SO flavourful.
They’re great for parties of all occasions.
They’re a crowd pleaser.
It’s a chance to show off.
You love to show off.
They’re savoury food goals.
The reasons don’t stop there, but I imagine you don’t have all day. Especially if you’re about to preheat your oven and get to work. Please let me know how it turns out for you if you make it, I’d LOVE to know!
Makes around 2kg of eliopitakia (half the recipe if this is too much, it never is in my house!)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
For the Olive Filling:
300g pitted kalamata olives, washed and strained
150g pitted regular black olives, washed and strained
1 large onion, roughly chopped
A bunch of fresh coriander, around 60g
2 tbsp of dried mint
1 tbsp of olive oil
For the Dough:
1 kg of strong flour
3 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp ground mehleb powder
2 tsp salt
125ml olive oil
400-430ml fizzy orangeade (no I’m not joking)
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with a splash of milk)
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
Make your dough. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, mehleb and salt with a whisk. Drizzle olive oil over the dry ingredients and using a pastry blender, work the oil into the flour mixture until it resembles a sand-like texture. Pour 400ml of the orangeade into the mixture and mix using your hands to bring it all together, add the remaining 25ml if the dough seems a little dry. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a bowl and cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling. In a food mixer add all of the ingredients of the filling, finishing with the olive oil. Blend till it forms into a paste, 30 seconds or so. If there are any chunks of onion or olive, blend for a few more seconds. Empty the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Begin making the eliopitakia. Preheat the oven to180°C/160°C fan and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Liberally dust your work surface with flour.
Tear off a large palm sized portion of dough and roll out to a rough rectangle. Pass the dough through a pasta machine from setting 1 to 7. Place the long sheet of dough in front of you and use a round cutter (12cm diameter is about right) to cut out rounds. Fill the bottom two thirds of the rounds with the olive paste, leaving a border on the sides so the paste doesn’t seep out when baking. Roll up the rounds, making sure the seam is at the bottom. Curve the cylinder to give the traditional crescent shape, pinch the edges to seal, and place on the baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle over plenty of sesame seeds. Bake for 28 minutes, rotating the pan half way at the 14 minute mark.
Once cooled, they can be frozen and will last for a good 3 months. Otherwise store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Enjoy, they are truly scrumptious!