MELOPITA OF SANTORINI
("HONEY AND CHEESE TART")
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 1/4 cup safflower oil
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, drained overnight in a cheesecloth-lined colander
- 1/3 cup honey, preferably thyme honey
- About 1/2 teaspoon (2 pieces) ground mastic (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- Ground cinnamon
MAKE THE PASTRY:
In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour with the baking powder. Add the oils and beer and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until soft, oily dough forms. If it is too soft, mix in a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Flatten the dough with your hands. Place it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press it evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Line with aluminum foil, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the foil, prick the dough with a fork and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until set but not colored. Let cool.
MAKE THE FILLING:
In a food processor, combine the ricotta, honey, mastic (if using) and cinnamon. Process for 30 seconds. With the motor running, add the eggs one at a time, processing until smooth.
Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and smooth the top with spatula. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown and set.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and let cool before serving.
FRESH CHEESE AND HONEY TARTLETS
MYZITHROPITAKIA, LIHNARAKIA OR MELITINIA
Instead of one large tart, you can make about 30 individual tartlets.
Divide the dough into 3 pieces and shape each into a 10 1/2-inch-long log about 1 inch in diameter. Cut each log into 10 pieces. Work with 1 piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.
On a lightly floured surface, pat each piece into a 4 1/2-inch round. Put 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each round and pinch the rim to make a star-shaped crown around the filling. Bake on baking sheets in batches for about 25 minutes, or until light golden.