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Cypriot Tahinopita (Vegan Tahini Bread)

Cypriot Tahinopita (Vegan Tahini Bread)

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Tahinopita, pronounced Tah-hee-NOH-pee-tah (plural tahinopites) is a Cypriot Lenten Sweet Bread, filled with tahini, sugar and cinnamon.  

tahinopita image

In the title I stress the word “Cypriot” Tahinopita because I searched the web for information about the Cypriot tahinopita (tahini bread)  but could not find this recipe anywhere.

The only recipe I found was a Greek cake made with tahini and 90% of the recipes found were exactly the same (copy – paste) from someone who originally wrote it and the others just copied it. 

I had to make a few phone calls to my sisters in Cyprus who did not have a recipe themselves but they asked other relatives and found out a recipe which they gave me.

The traditional Tahinopita we make in Cyprus is layers of phyllo dough and in between each phyllo there is the a tahini mixture with sugar and cinnamon.

In Cyprus these were street food and I remember back when we used to buy tahinopita at school, from street vendors who had a three or four wheeled cart which was covered with a sort of a window dressing and sold them in the crowded parts of the city.  

Nowadays you can find them anywhere, in supermarkets, mini markets, confectioneries, bakeries etc.  I am not sure if there are any street vendors any more because I have been away from Cyprus for many years and during my visits there I have never seen any.

This is a great breakfast pie, or snack with a very spicy flavour and very nutritious as well. 

It is “strict fasting” or “Lenten”, meaning it contains no dairy, eggs, or oil and is suitable for “fasting” days in the Orthodox Church.

Very satisfying with a cup of your favourite coffee.

HOW TO MAKE THE TRADITIONAL CYPRIOT TAHINOPITA

Tahinopta cut image
  • First of all activate the yeast,
  • Then prepare the dough, either using a stand mixer or by hand. In the dough we add some aromatic spices, such as mastic, mahleb and cinnamon and let it rise.
  • Prepare the filling. Put the tahini in a bowl and mix it with a couple tablespoons lukewarm water, to make it runny and mix in some sugar and cinnamon.
  • Roll out the dough with a dowel or using a pasta machine and spread the filling.
  • Make it into a roll.
  • Holding both ends, twist them in opposite directions, pulling at the same time until it almost doubles in length.
  • Place the roll on your working surface and make a coil on each side, which then put one coil on top of the other.  
  • Roll again to make it thinner. Cover with cling film and a kitchen towel and let it rise.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until golden.
  • Brush with the glaze and bake for 2 more minutes.

Can I freeze tahinopites?

If they are too many for you, put them on a tray, cover with cling film and put them in freezer. Thaw them first and then bake them.

You will find the recipe in my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” as well as in the second volume of the same e-book.

Tahinopta cut image

Cypriot Tahinopita (Vegan Tahini Bread)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cypriot Traditional Tahinopita is a Lenten or vegan sweet bread, which is very flavourful as it is filled with tahini, sugar and cinnamon.

Ingredients

For the starter:

  • 40 grams fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Enough flour to make a thick batter

For the dough:

  • 350 grams bread flour
  • 350 grams self-raising flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground mastic resin
  • ½ tsp of ground mahleb
  • About 300 ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

  • 1 ½ jars tahini (375 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the glazing:

  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Water just to dissolve sugar

Instructions

  1. Pound the mahleb and mastic resin with one tsp of sugar until they are powdered.
  2. Dissolve the fresh yeast with 1 cup of flour and half cup of lukewarm water and 1 tbsp sugar. 
  3. Cover and set aside until it bubbles.
  4. Prepare the dough by placing the bubbled yeast, the flour, remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon and pounded mahleb and mastic.
  5. Add the water gradually and knead the dough until it does not stick on your hands or mixer.  If it is sticky add more flour. Cover and set aside until it rises.
  6. Whisk the tahini, sugar and cinnamon or mix it with a spoon.  If it is too thick, dissolve it by adding a few tbsp of warm water, so that it becomes spreadable.
  7. Cut the dough in about 12 equal parts and cover with kitchen membrane so
    that they do not dry.
  8. Flour a clean surface and roll the dough with a dowel (or rolling pin) or a
    pasta machine (up to number 4) and make a thin phyllo about 20 x 30 cm.    
  9. Place 1 heaped tablespoon tahini in the centre and spread all over, leaving 3 cm (one inch) on all sides without tahini. 
  10. Fold the four sides and then fold once again, to enclose tahini.
  11. Make the phyllo into a roll and then holding both ends, twist them in opposite directions, pulling at the same time until it almost doubles in length.
  12. Place the roll on your working surface and make a coil on each side, which then put one coil on top of the other.  
  13. Press with your palm to flatten the dough and roll with the dowel until 1 cm thick.
  14. Place in a baking tin lined with parchment paper and cover with cling film.
  15. Continue until the tin is full and cover with a clean napkin until they rise again.  
  16. Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C/ 350o F, for about 45 minutes or until golden.
  17. Finally remove them from the oven, brush them with the glazing and bake for two more minutes.

Notes

If they are too many for you, put them on a tray, cover with cling film and put them in freezer. Thaw them first and then bake them.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 380Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 547mgCarbohydrates 82gFiber 3gSugar 28gProtein 9g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Vegan Desserts

Some other vegan desserts you can try during Lent.

PIN FOR LATER

Collage Cypriot traditional tahinopita image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

signature Ivy

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