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Rafiolia (Mykonian dessert)

(makes 30-40 pieces)

Ingredients for the pastry

800 g / 1.8 lbs all-purpose flour
1 orange, zest only
1/2 orange, freshly squeezed
1 egg
1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar

Ingredients for the filling

1/2 cup soft Mykonos tyrovolia cheese (or soft ricotta cheese)
1 orange, zest only
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sachet vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey

Extra ingredients

Oil for frying (preferably sunflower oil), cinnamon, sugar, honey, toasted sesame seeds


Kneed the pastry ingredients, adding water until the dough is soft and fluffy. Let it rest.
Mix all the filling ingredients together (adding extra honey or sugar to taste).
Take a piece of dough and roll it out with a rolling pin into very thin pastry. Using a glass, a cup or a 6-10 cm / 2-4 inch cookie cutter (depending on the size you want to make), cut the pastry into small circles. Repeat until the dough finishes.
In the centre of each circle, place a small tablespoon of the filling.
Wet the outer part of the circle with a basting brush dipped in water.
Fold to form a crescent. Close well, squeezing by hand or with a fork.
Continue until all the ingredients are finished.
Fry in hot oil until golden.
Top with lots of honey.
Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and the sesame seeds.

In the olden days, the housewives who made rafiolia played a practical joke for kicks. They would place cotton wool rather than filling in one of the rafiolia. They would then wait and see who got it and how they reacted. Earlier than that, when there was no cotton wool around, they would place carded sheep’s wool, which they used to spin to make what they needed at the time: undergarments, socks, etc.

Honey jar