Cretan Kalitsounia (Sweet Cheese Pastries)

"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."
photo by twissis photo by twissis
photo by twissis
photo by Debs Recipes photo by Debs Recipes
Ready In:
20 pastries (approximately)


  • 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


  • Prepare a stiff dough with the flour, olive oil, salt and water.
  • Leave to rest, covered, for an hour.
  • Crumble cheese.
  • Mix well with egg, zest, cinnamon and sugar.
  • Separate dough in two.
  • Take half of dough and roll out 1/8 inch thick on a lightly-floured surface.
  • Using a water glass, cut into small rounds 3 inches in diameter.
  • 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.
  • Repeat with remaining dough and cheese filling.
  • Heat enough olive oil or clarified butter to come up about 3/4 inch of pan.
  • Fry pastries until golden brown.
  • Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and serve hot.

Questions & Replies

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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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!


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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