Tahini Cinnamon Swirl with Carob: Tahinopita me Charoupi

This stunning recipe for tahini and cinnamon swirls from Georgina Hayden's Taverna cookbook is impossible to resist. This is a classic pastry you'll find in bakeries in Cyprus, but is easy to recreate in your own kitchen at home.

From the book

Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen by
Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen
Feast your way through these authentic Cypriot recipes
Family favourite dishes for weekend feasts
Fresh and inspiring ideas for weeknight cooking

Introduction

These are my absolute Achilles heel when I visit a Cypriot bakery. I cannot resist a fresh tahinopita, and no matter how big it is (and you can get massive ones) I just can’t save any for the next day. They are addictive as hell, and were one of the biggest hits with the team when we visited Cyprus for this book.

If you can’t get hold of carob syrup don’t worry, just leave it out. It’ll still work brilliantly and be delicious. To be honest, the addition of carob is a relatively new one to me, you’ll mostly find it without. But seeing that one of the areas my family is from is famous for carob (there is a huge old mill in Limassol), I wanted to make a version with it, especially as it adds a rich caramel-like flavour to the filling.

Makes 4

Ingredients

200g dark tahini
3 tbsp carob syrup (optional)
125g sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Fine sea salt
350g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ x 7g sachet yeast
4 tbsp honey

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the tahini, carob syrup (if using), sugar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt and leave to one side.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Make a well and pour in the remaining olive oil. In a jug, mix together the yeast with 250ml of warm water. Pour into the flour well and mix everything together with a fork. Add a little flour or water as necessary to get the right consistency; you want it to be smooth and elastic, not too sticky or firm.

When the dough is ready, divide into 4 balls. Dust your worktop with flour.

Roll one of the balls out into a rough circle to fit the palm of your hand. Hold it and spoon in 1 tablespoon of the tahini mixture. Seal together the dough to encase the tahini and press it flat onto the worktop with the palm of your hand to shape into a rough circle. Spoon in another spoonful of tahini, seal the dough round it, and don’t worry if some starts to spill out. This can all be very rough – you just want to build up the dough and tahini layers.

Guide the dough into a long sausage shape, use a knife to spread on a little more tahini mixture, then take each end in each of your hands and twist the sausage in opposite directions so it starts to twirl like a cheese straw. Roll the twirled dough into a spiral, tucking the end underneath, and flatten onto your worktop with the palm of your hand. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough and the tahini mixture.

When they are all ready, bake the tahinopites in the oven for around 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Drizzle immediately with honey and leave to absorb for 5 minutes before eating.

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