Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Agnopites (Cheese Pastries)

So Mascarpone. I actually suggested this because I had a recipe in mind already and really wanted to try it out...and I thought it would be an interesting beginning. (Kevin, for your enlightenment, I did look up the pronunciation. I was wrong. Here you go: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mascarpone) Nancy, my mother-in-law, gave me a whole slew of cookbooks when we were visiting her for the Fourth. One of them was Mezze Modern: Over 90 Delicious Appetizers from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey by Maria Khalife, photography by Stuart West. I found three similar recipes and let Charlie choose. This is what we ended up with.



1lb 2 oz all purpose flour (not sure why they gave those measurements. I found quite the variety in what that could mean, so I did about 18 oz of flour to begin with and added more as necessary.)
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice or raki
Pinch of salt

1 lb 2 oz myzithra cheese, or any soft unsalted cheese (this is where I used the mascarpone. And you don't need anywhere NEAR that much cheese. Honestly, less than one 8 oz container...)
4 Tbsp milk

Olive oil, for frying
Honey, grape juice syrup, or sugar, to serve.


Make the dough by mixing together the flour, water, olive oil, lemon juice or raki, and salt. Knead well until a soft, springy dough is formed. Roll out the dough and divide it into small golf ball sized portions.

Prepare the filling by mixing together the cheese and milk until smooth.

Make a small hole in each dough ball and fill with 1 tsp of the cheese mixture. Pull the dough over to seal the hole and roll the balls into 5 ins circles with a rolling pin.

Fry the circles in olive oil until golden brown. Serve hot with honey, grape juice syrup, or sugar.

Our honey is crystalized, so we tried maple syrup, which was quite good. We do imagine that honey would be great. Also, I tried dusting them with powdered sugar, and dipping them in mascarpone mixtures. I used a small amount of the leftover mascarpone and added a bit of powdered sugar and then (in separate containers) almond extract, vanilla, and lemon extract. The almond won. Surprisingly, these weren't very exciting. My original thought had been to add something to the mascarpone filling. I still think that would have been a good idea. Some shaved dark chocolate would be tasty, with the slightly sour taste from the lemon juice in the dough. Oh boy!

Also, the injecting of the cheese into the "small hole" in the dough was laughable. I had to flatten out each ball, then try to put a small amount of cheese in there and then seal it back up and then roll it out. Hah! The cheese exploded rather un-excitingly out all the time. It was quite a bother. I think next time it would be better to leave them in the shape of a ball.


  1. I'm intrigued by the 18 oz. of flour. Where was your cookbook published, or, for whom is it aimed? I've seen a few British cookbooks before and, for baking, the larger dry ingredients are usually by listed by weight. Think about it -- measuring flour by weight must be a nearly foolproof way of guaranteeing the precise quantity goes in the bowl every time.

    The addition of chocolate has great potential; I envisage zebra stripes inside your pastry. What about adding spices? Cinnamon, nutmeg or mace, cinnamon with cayenne? Some finely chopped nuts or figs? Lemon or orange zest?

    I can't imagine the process or putting these things together. I'm sure you'd say it was well worth the effort if they had turned out better overall. Would the cheese have behaved better if it were cold?

  2. I like the idea of adding chocolate or perhaps fruit to the inside...seems that between your recipe and mine we feel mascarpone is not the most exciting of ingredients!