Cypriot Tyropita is a savoury cake which we make in Cyprus with halloumi and mint. Pronounced ti-RO-pee-ta it translates roughly from the Greek meaning "Get inside my belly immediately!" (I lied, it means cheese from tyri and pie from pita.)
I love eating a wedge of this with a hot cup of tea, it's also delicious toasted with butter, trust me, it's devine. (It's actually what im eating now with my 5th tea of the day)
I have added Mahlebi and Mastiha (Mastic Gum) as optional, you can get both of these ground ingredients at most Turkish/Middle eastern supermarkets. They just add a slight uplift of flavour but if you can't find them, it's no worry to leave them out.
But what are they? I hear you cry!!! Well, see below (kudos to Wikipedia.)
Mahleb or Mahlebi is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, Prunus mahaleb (the Mahaleb or St Lucie cherry). The cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is about 5 mm diameter, soft and chewy on extraction. The seed kernel is ground to a powder before use. Its flavour is similar to a combination of bitter almond and cherry and similar also to marzipan.
Mastic (Greek: Μαστίχα) is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). In pharmacies and nature shops, it is called "Arabic gum" (not to be confused with gum arabic) and "Yemen gum". In Greece it is known as the "tears of Chios," being traditionally produced on that Greek island and like other natural resins, is produced in "tears" or droplets.
Originally a sap, mastic is sun-dried into pieces of brittle, translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavour is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing, slightly pine or cedar-like flavour.
Prep Time : 25 mins
Serves : This mixture will make 2 loaf tins or one large round bundt tin
Difficulty : Medium
200 gr Finely grated halloumi
250 ml Olive oil
1 Large tin evaporated milk (410ml)
4 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon dried mint
540 gr Self-raising flour
1/4 Teaspoon each of Mahlebi and Mastihi (optional)
1 - Preheat the oven to 180*c.
2 - Have 2 bowls ready.
3 - In one bowl mix the eggs, oil and evaporated milk with a whisk until they go a little frothy.
4 - In the other bowl mix the flour, baking powder, mint and halloumi, add the mahlebi and mastihi if you have them.
5 - Mix the two together, don't be put off by the slightly lumpy and odd look and consistency of the mixture!!
6 - Pour the mixture into 2 greased loaf tins or the 1 bundt tin and place into the middle of the pre-heated oven.
7 - Bake for approx 45 mins until the top is browned and risen well and the knife comes out clean.
This cake is often made in a rounded bundt tin instead of 2 loaf tins. Both taste the same and are delicious but as the cake can be frozen judge it based on how many people you think will be eating it.
Currant affairs - if you want to add a little more sweetness mix in 2 cups of currants or raisins into the dry flour mixture before mixing into the egg mix.
** This bake keeps very well, it will keep for up to a week in an airtight container, it also freezes well and could be frozen for up to a month. Just defrost completely and bring to room temperature before serving**
This will be unlike any other cheese/bread/cake you've ever had but trust me and go with it, it's blimmin' delicious!