Shamishi is a Greek Cypriot delicacy, a sweet treat often eaten at Cypriot panigyria (fairs) and something that Cypriot diaspora enjoy making the world over, especially my extended family! If you use water, these are vegan pastries.
A square shaped filo pie (you can use shop bought filo too of course), it houses a sweet semolina cream centre scented with orange blossom water, mastic (optional) and is deep fried in hot oil, donut-style before being sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon.
My Dad, Papa G, aka George, often makes these treats and the kids adore them.
For the Pastry:
200g plain flour
200g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
125 ml sunflower oil
225 ml warm water
For the Filling:
150g caster sugar
11/2 litres of milk or water
1/2 tsp mastic (optional) or 1 tsp vanilla essence
175g fine semolina
Icing sugar and cinnamon for dusting
To make the pastry, sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water, little by little kneading lightly at the same time to form a smooth firm dough. Warp in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Pour the milk in a heavy based medium pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and mastic or vanilla and stir until the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat to simmering point and gradually add the semolina, whisking continually until smooth and thick.
Pour into a small tray, flatten with a palette knife and cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent skin from forming. Leave to cool then chill. Take the pastry dough out of the fridge. Knead the dough a little to soften and with a sharp knife cut the dough in 4 pieces. Brush the pieces with a little sunflower oil and knead every piece until it becomes soft and elastic.
Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness. Using a small sharp knife, cut the pastry into squares about 12 cm.
Cut 5 cm square pieces from the semolina mixture and place one buy one in the middle of the pastry squares. Lightly press the filling and fold the four edges to just cover the filling.
Press the edges of the shamishi using your hands or a fork. Fry the shamishi pastries 4-5 at a time in a very hot oil in a large pan doe a couple of minutes/ Heat until golden on both sides. Dust lightly with icing sugar and cinnamon and serve immediately.
Please let me know if you make them!