A few weeks ago we found ourselves relaxing in the coastal city of Larnaka in Cyprus. Orange and lemon trees adorn the streets and are found casually full of fruit in many gardens too. Aside from the fresh citrus fruits, we’d heard about Cyprus’ olives and wine produces, so set off on a tour around the local villages to discover more.
It was on the last stop of our tour, organised by the Larnaka Tourist Board, that we were given a demonstration of how to make Cypriot Olive Pie. This traditional dish is typically served with coffee as a snack. It’s made with olives and orange juice (from Cyprus of course) as well as other flavours including mint, coriander and onions. Incidentally this is more of an unleavened bread, rather than a pie as we would know it in the UK, but a perfect bake throughout the Lent period.
Now back in the UK we decided to create our own version of this as an homage to the Cypriots and as a toast to the wonderful holiday. Here’s the Season’s Eatings recipe for Cypriot Olive Pie. If you have the opportunity to go to Cyprus, we’d recommend bringing back olive oil and olives to make this dish more authentic, but this isn’t critical.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 – 50 minutes
- 354g jar of pitted black olives – drained, washed and chopped
- 1 small red onion – finely chopped
- 5 tbsp olive oil plus extra for greasing.
- 500g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp (heaped) of baking powder
- 300ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 bunch finely chopped coriander
- 1 tbsp dry mint
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and wash your hands thoroughly. Then grease a medium-sized baking dish with olive oil.
- Prepare the olives, onion and coriander, so you can add things as required. Then pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the olive oil, coriander, mint and orange juice and mix together.
- We found it best to mix by hand, albeit a messy but pleasurable process. It helps you connect with the food and really feel when it’s ready. The mixture should all come together a be a bit sticky (which is needed to hold all the olives and onion). If yours is a little dry, add a dribble more orange juice.
- Add the chopped olives and onion and mix thoroughly again by hand until everything is well combined and the olives are evenly distributed. Then transfer to the baking dish, pushing into the corners with a spatula and smoothing down the top.
- Drizzle over a little more olive oil over the top of the pie. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes. By this point the olive pie will be cooked, but it may not be particularly golden on top. In which case brush with a little more olive oil, turn the oven up to 220ºC and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes to give the top a good colour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting up into 12 large pieces. Serve warm or cold with freshly brewed coffee.