Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spiced Pear, Date and Haloumi Flatbread

Haloumi is a sheep's milk cheese that is predominantly made in Cyprus, although a blogger friend in Italy told us about a beautiful Italian Haloumi that she uses often.  The cheese is unusual because it can be grilled and browned without turning into a liquid mess, and it has a dense, chewy texture that is amazing.  We use haloumi most often in Middle Eastern dishes, and its salty flavor combines particularly well with sweet ingredients such as the pears and dates in this recipe.

The only work here comes from preparing the spiced pears and dates. Once they're ready, the flatbread comes together in just seconds.  You may have extra pears and dates; we ate ours tossed with a light vinaigrette and forellenschuss and the other gorgeous lettuces that are plentiful in the garden right now.  This flatbread makes a filling meal, but it would also be beautiful to serve in bite-sized pieces for an appetizer.

Spiced Pear, Date and Haloumi Flatbread
inspired by Ana Sortun's recipe in Spice

Ingredients

1                       ball flatbread dough, at room temp for 5 minutes before rolling out
                         zest and juice of 1 lemon
1       Tbs          brown sugar
1/2    tsp           cumin
1/2    tsp           coriander
1/4    tsp           ground cardamom
1/4    tsp           black pepper
8                       dates, pitted and halved
2       Tbs          olive oil
3/4    lb             haloumi, cut into 8 slices
1                       pear, seeded and cut into 8 slices
                         flour for rolling out flatbread
                         cornmeal for peel

Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and place pizza stone in oven on shelf placed towards the top.  Place another shelf lover lower with another space in between the shelves for a large pyrex baking dish.
  2. Combine dates, lemon juice, lemon zest and brown sugar and cook over medium, stirring, until the sugar melts.  Add spices and dates and cook until the dates soften, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 Tbs olive oil, then remove from heat.
  3. Preheat another pan over medium-high heat, then fry the haloumi in a single layer until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip and repeat.  Remove from heat, then remove cheese but don't clean out the pan.  Spread cheese pieces out in a single layer in a large pyrex baking dish or similar.
  4. In same pan, heat 1 Tbs olive oil and saute the pears until brown on only one side, about 5 minutes.  Don't flip over, then remove from heat.  Place pear slices alongside the haloumi in the pyrex baking dish.
  5. Spoon a date onto each of the haloumi slices, then place dish in oven and bake until cheese is soft, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, and turn oven temperature up to 450°.
  7. Roll out flabread dough on a well floured surface.  Transfer to a peel which is generously covered with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
  8. Lightly brush rolled-out dough with olive oil, then add baked haloumi, dates and pears.  You may have a few extra slices of cheese and pears.
  9. Bake until bread is done, about 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
Printable recipe 

Other haloumi recipes:
Grilled Eggplant, Haloumi and Arugula Sandwich
Bulgur with Haloumi and Eggplant
Boca Burger with Grilled Haloumi and Lemon

Other flatbreads in this series:
Flatbread with Crispy Lacinato Kale and Tarentaise Cheese
Flatbread with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts and Shaved Parmesan
Flatbread with Roasted Golden Beets, Goat Cheese and Chestnut Honey
Flatbread with Gorgonzola Dulce, Grapes and Walnuts
Flatbread with Broccoli Rabe and Manchego
Flatbread with French Sorrel, Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese

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    12 comments:

    1. I'm telling you if you don't join the pizza party it'll be a crime against pizza!

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    2. I fell in love with halloumi while traveling in Greece, but have never made it at home. Will have to change that soon. Such a great idea for a flatbread!

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    3. The combinations sounds heavenly!

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    4. Sounds amazing! I've never had Italian Haloumi.

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    5. That looks heavenly! However: "Halloumi" and "forellenschuss"--seriously, is that a lettuce. . . really? So why is it that I feel like I need a dictionary when I enter your blog zone!? Is it just me?

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    6. Another one of your gorgeous flat breads! I think this one is a winner due to the haloumi, if it was not that high in calories, I would eat kilos of it.

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    7. I've just learned that I love haloumi - pairing it with these fruits sounds phenomenal! I have a big bag of dates too. I can see where this is going :)

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    8. Lovely. I found halloumi when I moved to the UK, and it is stunning. My carnivore crazy husband will even accept it as making a meal since it is so meaty.

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    9. You had me at haloumi, you made me swoon at spiced pear ;)

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    10. An excellent combination of pear, dates and haloumi, yum!

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    11. yea, another flatbread! i'm loving these recipes! :) this one looks fabulous with the pears, cheese, and dates - perfect!

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