Cretan Easter Lamb Pie (Tourta Kritiki)

This Cretan lamb pie is an original Mediterranean recipe! Very heavy, but if you like lamb a very interesting way to use it. 

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1 1/4 cups warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup, plus 3 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, very well beaten
4 scallions sliced
1kg lean boneless lamb cut in portions
2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
500 gr Greek anthotiro cheese or fresh ricotta
250 gr Cretan Graviera cheese, shredded
2 large eggs
sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (180°C).

Making the dough.
1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine four cups of flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture, olive oil, and eggs. Stir with a fork from the center outwards until a dough begins to form.

3. Lightly dust a work surface with some of the remaining flour. Knead dough until silky to the touch (about 10-12 minutes) adding more flour if necessary.

4. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

Making the filling.
1. In a heavy skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add scallions and wilt over medium heat.

2. Add lamb. Season with cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Brown, stirring frequently.

3. Combine the anthotiro or ricotta with the shredded graviera cheese in a bowl and stir in one egg.

Making the pie.
1. Lightly oil a nine-inch spring form pan. Divide dough in half.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first half to a circle about 13 inches in diameter. Place on bottom of pan, and lightly press in sides. There should be at least an inch of dough hanging over the rim of the pan.

3. Spread half the lamb on the bottom of the pan. Spread half the cheese mixture evenly over it. Repeat with remaining lamb and cheese.

4. Roll out second half of dough and place over filling. Trim the edges. Roll up the edges to form a crust around the rim of the pan.

5. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes.

6. Beat remaining egg. Make four sharp incisions in surface of dough. Brush the whole top with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

7. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the pastry is golden and begins to separate from the sides of the pan. Cool slightly on a rack.

8. Remove from pan just before serving and slice into pieces.


Serve it as a main course with a fresh salad to cut the richness!
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