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Cherry-picking season in Kyustendil is almost over, it is time for cherry filo pastry pie

Photo: private library

Fresh cherries can be picked in May and by early July the cherry-picking campaign is almost over. The fruit is rich in vitamins and other nutrients that boost the immune system. Cherries help inhibit oxidative stress and decrease inflammation by suppressing inflammatory proteins, which can reduce symptoms related to arthritis. Cherries are indispensable food for Bulgarians and are used in the local cuisine in all seasons. Bulgarians use cherries to make compotes, as well as various jams and marmalades. Moreover, cherries are also stored frozen. Every skilled housewife knows how to make at least several types of sweet pastries using cherries as the main ingredient.

Katya Hadzhiyska from the town of Kyustendil, which is famous for its delicious cherries, prepares a delicious filo pastry pie with cherries. Katya Hadzhiyska, who works as a seamstress and makes the stage costumes for the local drama theater, invented her recipe after a number of experiments in the kitchen. “Cooking is my hobby and my passion and cherries are not merely a delicious fruit. They are much more than that”, Katya Hadzhiyska said and added:

Katya Hadzhiyska

“Each year I am watching with admiration this tree- from the blossom season until the time the first fruit is formed. When I see a cherry tree suffering from any kind of disease, I immediately take measures to heal it. We live in a village and I have the opportunity to watch the trees on a daily basis. Over the years, wherever I have travelled, I have never missed the chance to go out during my lunch break to pick some cherries.”

In Katya Hadzhiyska’s words, there has been a very good cherry harvest this year. Her cherry tree yielded delicious fruit. Then, she came up with the idea how to make use of them. After making a cherry jam under her own recipe, she decided to participate at the traditional cherry contest with her unique cherry filo pastry pie. It is prepared with hand-rolled filo pastry and cherry jam filling. “Hand-rolled filo pastry is the trick of the most delicious pastry pie”, Katya Hadzhiyska noted and added:

“I participate in every culinary festival in Kyustendil. Over the years, I have won a series of awards for culinary innovations. Recently, when I made the cherry filo pastry pie, I found out that I ran out of walnuts. That is why I decided to use sesame tahini and honey instead. This was a real innovation which further improved the taste of my pastry. The filling tastes great when you let the pastry rest for a while. There are no words to describe how tasty the pie is unless you try it. I have a page in the social networks called “My KeT Menu”, where everyone can learn how to make hand-rolled pastry and how the cherry pie is prepared.”

Here is Katya Hadzhiyska’s recipe for cherry filo pastry pie:

To make the filo pastry you need: 1 kilogram of plain flour, 20 grams of fresh yeast and warm water.

To make the filling you need: cherry jam, ground walnuts or sesame tahini mixed with honey, melted butter (to brush the filo pastry).

First, you need to knead the dough. Next, roll the dough into thin layers of filo pastry using a rolling pin. Let each filo pastry dry on a piece of baking paper. Then you need to place the filo pastry on a tin-foil lined table. Arrange the cherry jam in a thin column, then make another column of ground walnuts and a third column of sesame tahini mixed with honey. Brush the filo with some melted butter and fold it. Place the folded pastry in an oblong pan and continue with the next pastry. Finally, brush the top of the pastry with the rest of the melted butter and place it in a hot oven at 150°С. Bake until golden brown and let it cool down. Then, cut the cherry pastry into small pieces and enjoy! Katya Hadzhiyska says.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: private library, BNR
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