Thursday, 21 September 2017

Milopitakia - Apple Stuffed Biscuits

So fall is coming upon us, and what better way to spend the darker evenings doing a little bit of baking. Now I am never ready to give up summer (I could permanently live in summer, as long as it isn't a typical British summer!) and as I love Greece so much I thought I would try out one of the many recipes in my Greek Bible of cooking: Vefa's Kitchen.

The recipe of choice being: Milopitakia or Apple stuffed Biscuits.





As we are well and truly into September now, our Apple tree in the garden has been full of wonderful cooking apples. I knew I wanted to make something with these and searched for the perfect Greek baking recipe to compliment the tart apples that are produced on our tree.
Getting the better apples 🍏🍎 was a bit of a challenge, but the good old ladders in the garage helped with reaching higher up in the tree. [TIP:] If you ever go apple picking, just be mindful that there is a high possibility of bugs either on or in the apples. I was unfortunate enough to have an unwelcome visitor fall down my top, which I didn't realise at first, thinking it was a dried leaf...oh how wrong I was! Yup, a friendly spider decided to make itself comfortable 😲.




Once the apples were collected (and spider removed) they needed to be washed, peeled and then coarsely grated. I must admit that I didn't read this part correctly, and grated the apples with the skin still on. I fished out the bigger pieces when I realised, however, I don't think to leave the peel made a massive difference to the outcome of the stuffed biscuits.
Preparation for the recipe can be a little time consuming especially the grating of the apple part, but the milopitakia are well worth this hassle. The recipe is sort of in 2-3 halves also which again can feel like it can take a while to fully make these biscuits.

So the start of this recipe is a bit like how you would make a crumble mixture, by rubbing the self-raising flour and cubed butter together. I slightly changed the recipe by adding icing sugar into this mix, which did make it slightly harder to get the right texture for the 'crumble', but I found that the biscuits tasted much better than when I made them without the added sugar.

Once the flour, sugar and butter were combined, it was time to add the Greek yoghurt. This part can get messy but the main idea is to gently mix until the dough starts to come together. It should feel crumbly, and the dough shouldn't be kneaded, with the mixture being p pressed together, ensuring all crumbs from the side of the bowl are added. Then the dough should be covered and placed in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.





With the dough now chilling in the fridge, it is on to the apple mixture with which the biscuits are stuffed. For this, you need a small saucepan and a low light heat on the stove /oven top. The grated apple and lemon juice are combined in the pan, set on a gentle simmer, continually stirring until the liquid in and from the mixture is evaporated. Once this has happened walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, grated nutmeg are added, stirred in and removed from the heat. 

The oven should be pre-lit and two or three baking trays should be greased.




After the 30 minutes of chilling, the dough is ready to be made into milopitakia. The dough should make around 30 balls, however, I think mine made slightly more than this. Try to keep the balls equal in size, as they will cook more evenly together then.

To make the biscuits and stuff them, the dough is rolled into balls. Using your thumb make an indent into the ball to make a large hollow. Using a teaspoon, spoon a bit of the mixture into the hollow, pressing the dough together to seal this. They should then be patted down very gently. I had some difficulty with this stage, as the filling tended to overspill from the seal. I guess it is a bit of trial and error to see how much filling each biscuit can take. The milopitakia should then be placed onto the greased baking tray, with the seal side down.




Once placed in the oven, the biscuits usually take around 30-35 minutes to bake, or until they are lightly golden.

After removing from the oven, the baked milopitakia should be dusted with icing sugar and a little ground cinnamon before being left to cool. They can then be stored in an airtight container and last a few days (if you can resist eating them all once baked!).



How lovely do they look? I can say that they taste delicious, and got a very warm welcome from friends and family when tried. I think they have a similar texture to a scone, so would make a wonderful accompaniment to a lovely cuppa in the afternoon.

Have you tried baking something similar? Let me know if you give them a try in the comments below.

The full recipe can be found below:
Apple-Filled Biscuits (Milopitakia)
By Vefa Alexiadou - Vefa's Kitchen Cookbook


Makes approx. 30 cookies

For the dough

400g self-rising flour
225g butter, chilled and diced
4 to 5 tablespoons plain yoghurt
Butter, for greasing
Icing sugar, for dusting
Cinnamon, for dusting

For the filling

4 large apples, peeled and coarsely grated
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons superfine caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
120g walnuts, coarsely chopped



Method:
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, adding the diced butter rubbing it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs / crumble mix. - You can add icing sugar to this part if you are wanting a sweeter biscuit. Just be mindful that it may change the consistency of the crumbs.

2. Gently stir in the yoghurt mixing until the dough just begins to come together. It should feel crumbly. Do not knead - gather all the crumbs from the side of the bowl into a ball, pressing together with your hands.

3. Cover and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling:

4. Place the grated apples, lemon juice, and sugar into a small pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has evaporated.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the spices and walnuts.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark 4 and grease 2 or 3 baking trays with butter.

7. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, divide this into 30 pieces.

8. Roll each piece into a ball, then press your thumb into the ball to form a large hollow.

9. Using a teaspoon fill the hollows with the apple mixture and press the dough over it to seal it. Pat them down very gently.

10. Place the balls, seal side down, onto the greased baking tray and bake for about 35 minutes, or until lightly golden.


11. Remove from the oven and sift a little icing sugar and cinnamon on top, then let cool.

12. Enjoy the milopitakia!

Note:
They can be kept for 2 to 3 days at room temperature and for several months in the freezer.

2 comments:

  1. OMG Thanks for sharing this recipe I didn't know.
    Love

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    Replies
    1. It's a great recipe. Hope you get to try them!
      Aimsy xoxo

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