Moldavian layered pie with hemp cream
This sweet pie is traditionally made on Christmas Eve in Eastern Romania. It's made of layers of flatbread soaked in a honey syrup and spread with a hemp seed filling.
- Serves: 16 persons
- 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250g pumpkin seeds
- 250g hulled hemp seeds, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 3tbsp runny honey
- 125ml hemp milk, any non-dairy milk or water
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 2tbsp runny honey
- lemon, juiced and zested
Step 1Combine the flour, 250ml of water and a pinch of salt in a bowl, and knead to a firm dough. Leave to rest at room temperature for 15 mins, then knead again and leave to rest for a further 15 mins.
Step 2Set a large cast-iron (or non-stick) frying pan over a medium heat. Don’t add any oil.
Step 3Divide the dough into 12 pieces, about 50g each. On a floured worksurface, roll and stretch one ball to a circle, 25cm in diameter (or as large as the pan). Keep dusting with a little flour underneath and on top of the dough, so you can roll and stretch it very thinly by hand. Lift and put in the hot pan (don’t worry if it loses its shape slightly) and cook for 3 mins, then flip and cook the other side for a further 3 mins – it needs to have the texture of a thin, dry biscuit. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, rolling and cooking one at a time. Stack them on a plate or a cooling rack.
Step 4To make the filling, grind the pumpkin seeds to a powder in a food processor. Add the hemp seeds and blitz together. Add the honey, then gradually add the milk or water, with the motor at medium speed, until the mixture reaches a soft, spreadable consistency. Set aside.
Step 5To make the syrup, bring all the ingredients and 450ml of water to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 mins until thickened. Pour into a large shallow dish, wide enough to fit one of the flatbreads inside.
Step 6To assemble the pie, soak a flatbread in the syrup for 30 seconds, then put it on a dish or a plate with a deep lip. Spread the flatbread with a thin layer of the filling. Repeat with all the remaining flatbreads, leaving the top one plain. You can spoon a little of the remaining syrup on top. Wrap the dish or plate in clingfilm, then put a tray on top and weight it down with something heavy. This will ensure that the layers are pressed evenly (don’t worry if they crack). Leave for 24 hrs, then slice and serve. You can serve as it is or save a couple of tablespoons of the filling to serve with it.