With a savory ricotta and mozzarella filling and salty green olives, this savory pastry in the shape of a sun uses malawach, the wonderful Teimani (Yemenite) flaky pastry, although you can swap in puff pastry if you can't find frozen malawach rounds.
This looks-fussy, actually-easy savory bake makes a great centerpiece for an appetizer spread, as well as a fun lunch for kids. It can be sliced apart neatly or broken into eagerly. the recipe is adapted from the one and only Carine Goren, the doyenne of Israeli baking, known for making all the Israeli dessert classics with a smile.
To make this sun-shaped pastry, you'll need malawach, a superlatively flaky, savory pastry that comes from the Yemenite-Israeli community. You may be able to find malawach, frozen in rounds about the size of a small frying pan, in the kosher freezer section, if your market's got one. A brand found in US supermarkets is Taamti (you can see the package in this post about another terrific malawach-based savory pastry called ziva). However, if you can't find malawach, you can substitute frozen puff pastry. It won't be the same, but wonderful in its own way, because puff pastry. To get the round shape when using puff pastry, use a lunch-sized round plate as a guide for cutting circles from the puff pastry sheets. (And don't let the extra go to waste: knead the scraps together, roll them out, and use or re-freeze!)
The cheese and olive filling
This recipe makes two sun-shaped pastries, which can be cut apart for individual bites, or served whole as a light meal. The recipe, including the filling, is easily doubled to make four or tripled, which will use a whole standard package of frozen malawach and a small package of ricotta.
The cheese filling is super simple: just mix the ricotta with shredded mozzarella and an egg yolk (save the white for brushing onto the shaped pastry). Unless your ricotta is already salted, you'll want to season it with salt and, if you like, black pepper. The ricotta will politely help your filling stay inside the pastry as it bakes.
The olives don't get mixed into the filling, but scattered on top of it. If you can't find sliced olives, you can slice pitted olives yourself—you don't need too many, so it's not too tedious to do.
Shaping a malawach sun pastry
Malawach pastry doesn't need a lot of time to defrost—in fact, you want it just barely pliable, or it'll be too soft to work with. About 10 minutes before you're ready to start the recipe is perfect. If you're using puff pastry, you'll need a bit more time at room temperature, 15-20 minutes or so.
Shaping the pastry into a sun shape is the fun part. Using a round cutter or drinking glass about 3" / 8 cm in diameter, make an indent in the center of the malawach round—don't push all the way through, just gently make a guiding mark.
Next, you'll cut the center circle into six equal wedges, just like cutting a tiny pizza. Here, you want to use a sharp knife and push down firmly to neatly separate the dough. Then, gently lift up each wedge, opening up the center circle. Separating it by hand at this stage makes it easier to do later with all the filling on the pastry. After separating each wedge, return it to the center so it looks like a pizza again.
Place half the filling on the outer rim of the malawach. It'll be a generous amount. Scatter the olives over the cheese. Now's the big sun moment: take each wedge and stretch it over the cheese filling, forming a sun shape. Brush the tops of the pastry with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with sesame, and bake until golden.
Looking for more savory bakes?
- Savory Three-Cheese Pesto Muffins - The perfect gateway muffin to savory muffin land.
- Dilled Corn + Feta Pashtida - This cheesy version of the classic Israeli crustless vegetable pie is full of herby savoriness.
- Jamaican Meat Patties - Curried pastry stuffed with deliciously stuffed beef.
Cheese and Olive-Stuffed Malawach Sun Pastry (dairy)
- 2 pieces frozen malawach - defrosted for 10 minutes on the counter
- 1 cup ricotta - 65 g
- ⅓ cup grated mozzarella - 45-50 g
- 1 egg yolk - reserved the white for egg wash
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp sliced green olives
- egg white - reserved
- sesame seeds
- Ten minutes before beginning, take two pieces of frozen malawach out of the freezer and place them on the counter to thaw somewhat. Preheat the oven to 365F.
- Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Remove the cling wrap from both sides of one malawach. Place on a lined baking sheet.
- Using a glass or large circular cutter, make an indent in the center of the malawach (do not press all the way through).
- Using a sharp knife, cut the center circle into six wedges, like cutting a pizza. Separate them with your fingers. Repeat with the second piece of malawach.
- Place half the filling on the outer circle of one malawach. Repeat with the second. Scatter olives slices over the cheese.
- Take each triangle of dough cut from the center and pull it over to the outer circumference, making a sun shape.
- Brush the exposed tops of the malawach with egg white and scatter sesame seeds on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is flaky and golden.