One of the ways to cope with fasting for Lent is snacking and quite often, I’m left with the constant desire for sweets during this challenging time. No dairy, no eggs makes eating desserts almost impossible. Almost.
Enter this easy Lenten treat that’s inspired by the Tahinopites of Cyprus. Close family friend and Cypriot-born Helen Koccoris (nee Iordanou) joined my mother and I in the kitchen to help us re-create this memory from far-far away and long ago when she was a girl in Nicosia.
Mrs. Koccoris remembers being treated to a Tahinopita from one of the food stands in the city. These were offered as quick snacks. a breakfast treat, if you will. Together, Mrs. Koccoris, my mom and I developed this recipe which is inspired by the Tahinopites of Cyprus, right down to the texture and flavour.
The main ingredients of these rolls are flour, tahini (sesame paste) and cinnamon. Obviously sugar is also involved and the very same spices that are often found in Tsoureki, the Greek Easter bread are all present: Mahlepi and Mastic.
I like that Mahlepi and Mastic and included in this recipe. It’s a kind of foreshadowing of the coming Easter feast which includes Tsoureki on the grand table this coming Sunday. To make these Rolls, I recommend preparing the dough the evening before you are going to bake them. Fill and roll them up, cut them into their pinwheel pieces and lay in your deep baking vessels. Thrown them in your oven and allow them to rise overnight.
Wake-up, take them out of the oven and you will see that they have swelled and joined (that’s okay). Pre-heat your oven, and serve with a Greek coffee.
This recipe is dedicated to Mrs. Koccoris’ mother, Antigone Iordanou. A lady who lived a full life and who touched the lives of many people and often referred to my mother as “kori” or daughter. This meant alot to my mother who spent most of her life here in Canada, away from her own mother.
Lenten Cinnamon & Tahini Rolls (ÎÎ·ÏƒÏ„Î¯ÏƒÎ¹Î¼Î± ÏƒÎ±ÏÎ±Î³Î»Î¬ÎºÎ¹Î± Î¼Îµ ÎºÎ±Î½ÎÎ»Î± ÎºÎ±Î¹ Ï„Î±Ï‡Î¯Î½Î¹)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 packette of active dry yeast
1/2Â cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground Mahlepi
1/2 tsp. ground Mastiha
extra flour for working the dough
1 1/2 cups of tepid water
200 gr. Tahini
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, add your yeast along with a little sugar and your tepid water. Stir and allow for the yeast to activate for a couple of moments.
- Combine all of your dry ingredients in another bowl. Add wet to dry ingredients. Knead with your hands and you should end up with a dough that is not tacky (sticky). Adjust water or flour if the dough is too sticky or too dry.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm spot in the kitchen for 60-90 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix your filling in a bowl with a spatula and set aside.
- Turn out your dough and cut in half. Roll out each half into a square/rectangle (approx. 2 X 1 1/2 feet). Divide and spread your tahini filling on the surface of each section of rolled out dough, except for 1 inch of the dough on each side.
- Carefully roll up each sheet of dough and using a sharp knife, slice into 1 1/2 inch rolls. Turn each piece onto its open end and place on a deep baking tray that’s been greased/treated with cooking spray.
- Allow to rise in your baking tray for 2-3 hours (minimum) or overnight. Your rolls will/should puff/expand and pre=heat oven.
- Place in your pre-heated oven (middle rack) 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and separate and remove from tray and allow to cool on a rack. Serve for breakfast, as a snack or with a Greek coffee.
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