Sunday, March 27, 2011

Turkish Delight-a-rama!

I love eating with my hands and sharing food, and there is no better dish suited to both of these things than the fabulous flavoursome Turkish Pide. I would never have considered making it at home - assuming that it would be difficult to get right - however once I looked at the ingredients and did a little research, I discovered that it was in fact pretty straight forward. Sure, it involves dough and yeast and time for the said dough to rise, but apart from that it was easy peasy.

You could use any fillings that take your fancy - I decided on a classic spinach and feta and a hot and spicy chorizo and chilli/tomato version. Both were really delicious. These pide would be great party food - make up the dough beforehand and let people create their own toppings. Crank up the oven, show people how to assemble the pide and away you go!

As you all know, I do not profess to be a baker of any kind - it usually looks a bit too precise and fiddly to me. I'm more of a touch it, taste it,create it as you go kind of cook. I did however really enjoy the process of making the pide - there was something so tactile and satisfying about rolling up my sleeves and kneading the dough, feeling it change in texture from a firmish lump to a soft, stretchy one. All very rustic and wholesome - I felt like I was in some Turkish mountainside farmhouse with a wood fire burning and sheep grazing outside. So, I urge you all to go forth and get in touch with your inner Turkish baker and give these pide a go. They are delightful.

Spicy Chorizo and Spinach and Feta

You will need:

For the pastry: 1 cup milk, 60g butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar, 7g (1 sachet) dried yeast, 4 1/2 cups plain flour, 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt.

My fillings: 1 Chorizo, 1 cup mozzerella cheese, 1 cup nepolitana sauce, 1 cup cooked spinach, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, salt and pepper, 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon parsley to serve (optional)

Method: Place the milk and butter in a saucepan and warm over a low heat for a couple of minutes until the butter has melted. Do not over heat the milk. Set aside.

Combine sugar and half a cup of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Scatter over the dried yeast. Set aside for about 8 minutes until the mixture looks a bit foamy on top.

Combine the yeast mixture and the milk in a large bowl. Add the flour and 2 teaspoons of salt and mix well to form a dough. Clean hands are best for this.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. This will take between 7 and 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour. The dough should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 4 pieces. Roll into an oval shape. Top with your desired fillings (or mine), leaving a 2-3 cm border around the edges of the pide. Fold over and "pleat" the edges to partially enclose the filling.

Whisk together the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush the edges of the dough with this mixture.

Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and cook for about 20 minutes, until golden. If you are using two shelves of the oven, it is a good idea to swap the trays over halfway through the cooking, so that the pide are cooked evenly.

Remove from the oven, slice and serve right away. I like a squeeze of lemon and parsley over mine.


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