Flaouna or flaounes (plural) are traditional Cypriot cheese pastries, which are semi-sweet and made with halloumi, sultans and spices. These are traditionally made around Easter time, as a treat, but you will find them in a Cypriot bakery most of the year. 

Preparing the flaounes takes a fair bit of time but not too tricky. Usually these are made in big batches and stored or frozen for later. It’s not uncommon, and I have seen this in my aunties, where I walked in to the kitchen around Easter and saw several people in a production line on the dining table assembling these.

The main ingredients for the recipe are mostly easy to buy from the supermarket, however the mastic and mahaleb you can usually find in the delicatessen. 

Mastic gum comes from the resin of the mastic tree which is an evergreen shrub originating mainly from the Greek island of Chios. It usually comes in crystallised form and you can grind it down into a powder using a mortar and pestle or spice / coffee grinder. Did you know it is claimed to have many health benefits including improved digestions, oral and liver health due to it anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties.

Mahaleb or Mahalepi is a spice made from the seeds of the St Lucie Cherry tree which is indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean. It has a bitter almond flavour and is used to enhance and sharpen sweet baked goods. You will usually find it pre-ground in the delicatessen, but sometimes you will get the whole kernels, which can be ground down in a grinder or processor.

The recipe is not too difficult to make but does take a bit of time and preparation. In order to get the right texture and flavour it’s best to make the filling before hand. I would suggest making it the evening before and leaving it in the fridge overnight to dry out and concentrate the flavour. Traditionally halloumi would be matured or removed from the brine to give it a strong sour flavour.

When preparing the dough try not to overwork as this can make the pastry chewey and difficult to roll out. At first it will be crumbly but will come together into a dough. Once its combined Its best to work it with you hands pushing your fingers in to the dough and folding it together. 

The Flaounes can be stored in a sealed container for 3-5 days or you can freeze these in a sealed zip-lock bag to be defrosted when needed.

12 pastries2 hour’ +30 min’2hours 30 min’



  • 500g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Mahaleb (ground)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Mastic (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 7g Fast acting yeast
  • 60ml Water
  • 2 Large free range eggs
  • 120ml Extra virgin olive oil
  • 80ml Milk (semi-skimmed or whole)
  • Sesame seeds to garnish (~30g)


  • 225g Halloumi cheese
  • 250g Cheddar (or other medium-hard cheese)
  • 50g Semolina (fine)
  • 2 Large free range eggs
  • 120g Dried sultanas
  • 4 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Mastic (ground)
  • 1 tsp Mahaleb (ground)
  • 3 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil


To get the best results it’s better to prepare the filling the evening before or at least a few hours to let the cheese dry and concentrate the flavour, however It is still possible, to do this at the same time as the dough and set aside in the fridge while the dough rises.

To prepare the filling:

Grate the halloumi and cheddar finely and add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients into the bowl and mix to combine. Cover with a cloth cloth and place in the fridge overnight, if possible.

To make the dough:

In a large bowl sift the flour, mastic, mahaleb, salt and baking powder. Mix well until combined.

Add the eggs and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Mix the dough mix with your hands as it will be crumbly at first and will slowly come together to make a “bitty” dough.

Add 60ml of warm water to a jug with the sugar. (Make sure this is only lukewarm as heat can kill the yeast if it is hot.) mix the water till the sugar is dissolved and then add in the fast acting yeast stirring until fully dispersed into the liquid.

Add the warmed milk to the yeast mix and then add to the dough.

Knead in the yeast mixture until it forms a tacky dough. If this is too dry add some flour or alternatively some milk if too dry. Avoid over kneading if possible as this will make the pastry chewy.

When the dough is formed round off into a large ball at the base of the bowl, cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for approximately 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.

To Assemble:

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roughly pat into a rectangular shaped cake with the palm of your hands.

Roughly divide the dough into 12 uniform rounds with your hands. Flour the work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out the balls individually into flat round circles approximately 15cm wide. 

At this point the dough round should only be a few millimetres thick. To make sure these are allI sometimes use a side plate as a guide and cut any protruding edges around the plate with a sharp knife.

Using a rolling pin remove the dough from the surface. Add some more flour and sesame seeds to the surface and flip the dough so the opposite side is against the seeded surface. 

Lightly press the dough into the seeds to coat the outer side of the pastry with sesame seeds.

In each square add approximately 3 tbsps of filling to the centre of the and compact to form a mound in the centre. 

Fold the exposed edges in thirds or quarters in over the filling, leaving a gap at the centre to expose the filling, and crimping the folded edges closed with a fork.

Whisk an egg in a bowl and glaze the surface with the egg wash.

Once all the Flaounes are formed, add grease proof paper to two baking trays and place them on the trays to rise for about 20 minutes before baking.

Once the pastries have rested, pre-heat the over to 170c (fan oven). Glaze the pastries with the egg wash and then place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Leave to cool slightly and enjoy warm or cold with a coffee or tea. 

These can be stored in a sealed container for 3-5 days and can also be frozen for later.

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