Kalasouna

Cheese and Onion Pie

ON THE island of Folegandros, the filling for this cheese pie is flavored with plenty of onions and enclosed in a thick bread crust. The name for the rustic pastry is also a scornful term used on the island to describe a woman with a bad figure. The pie was traditionally made on Saturdays, the day bread was baked, since the crust was made from a piece of the leavened dough, with some olive oil added. Maria Primikiri developed this simpler version.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • cup olive oil or a combination of olive oil and safflower oil
  • ⅔–1 cup water

Filling

  • 2 cups finely chopped red onions
  • 3 scallions (white and most of the green parts), thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 10½ ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • cups thick sheep’s milk yogurt or Drained Yogurt
  • ¼ cup toasted bread crumbs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3–4 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

Method

Make the Crust

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and rub the ingredients between your hands until the texture is like bread crumbs. Gradually add enough water to make a soft, elastic dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can make the dough in a food processor. Combine the dry ingredients and pulse to mix, then, with the motor running, add the liquids. (Let the dough rest in the food processor for 2 to 3 minutes.)

Make the Filling

Place the onions and scallions in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Knead with your hands for a few minutes to wilt the onions and scallions, then rinse under very warm running water. Drain well and squeeze with your hands to extract as much liquid as possible.

In a large bowl, combine the onions and scallions, cheese, yogurt, bread crumbs and pepper to taste. Taste and add salt if necessary—feta is usually quite salty. Stir in the eggs.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil the bottom and sides of a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Take 2 of the pieces and cover the other. Briefly knead together the pieces and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a sheet large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking dish, with a ½-inch overhang. Fit the dough into the dish and add the filling.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a rectangle just a little larger than the dish and place it over the filling.

Fold the overhanging bottom crust inward. Pinch the two edges together, turn them inward and press to seal, making a neat cord around the edge of the pan.

Flatten the cord with the tines of a fork, to prevent it from sticking out, because it will burn during baking.

If you like, with a pastry wheel, score parallel lines on the top of the crust, crossing them to make diamond-shaped patterns on the pie, being careful not to cut through the crust. Brush with the milk and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the crust pulls away from the sides of the pan and is golden brown on top. Let cool before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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