Cretan Kalitsounia (Sweet Cheese Pastries)

Total Time
Prep 30 mins
Cook 8 mins

These delectable cheese pastries are served throughout Crete. The best, in my opinion, are served in sunny villages scattered throughout the White Mountain Range on the drive from Chania to Sfakia. There, they are served with a drizzle of the local thyme honey. In more urban centers, many just sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Either way, they are addictive and delicious.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 34 cup water
  • 1 lb manouri cheese (ricotta will do in a pinch) or 1 lb fresh mizithra cheese (ricotta will do in a pinch)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 12 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 12 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • olive oil (for frying) or clarified butter (for frying)
  • Garnish

  • greek thyme honey or cinnamon sugar


  1. Prepare a stiff dough with the flour, olive oil, salt and water.
  2. Leave to rest, covered, for an hour.
  3. Crumble cheese.
  4. Mix well with egg, zest, cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Separate dough in two.
  6. Take half of dough and roll out 1/8 inch thick on a lightly-floured surface.
  7. Using a water glass, cut into small rounds 3 inches in diameter.
  8. Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture on each round of dough, moisten edges with a little water, fold over and seal well, pressing the edges together with a fork.
  9. Repeat with remaining dough and cheese filling.
  10. Heat enough olive oil or clarified butter to come up about 3/4 inch of pan.
  11. Fry pastries until golden brown.
  12. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and serve hot.
Most Helpful

My DH hovered over me as I took these out of the pan last nite & devoured a whole plate of them. I even made a few of them stuffed w/ground meat just to see if it would work as well - it did btw. I "hid" the rest so I'd have enough for a pic, but he was around asking for more when he saw me taking the pic. The prep took me longer than I expected, but even DH said they were worth the wait. You are so right in your intro - very addictive & delicious! Thx.

twissis June 05, 2006

We don't have a good cheese store in town so I also made these using ricotta. I got to use my posticker forms to cut and seal them. Great way to do it and not be messy. I loved the combo seasoning and thought they wwer a bit like inside out cheesecakes! I love cheesecake, in any form! Lee

Nana Lee June 03, 2006

Yummy little pastries ~ I filled mine with ricotta cheese and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar as they came out of the frypan. My family enjoyed trying this recipe which seemed to us a little bit like an empanada from the other side of the world ~ Thanks!

Deb's Recipes June 01, 2006