Pide is one of the most popular snacks and our slow cooked “fast food” in Turkey. In Rural Anatolia and at my home town Antakya, locals would prepare the filling and take it to their local bakery, firin to be baked as these delicious flat breads with toppings. There are also “Pideci” Turkish flat bread shops that solely bake and serve these flat breads. Great value, delicious and nutritious, we can’t get enough of pides.
Pide can be made in various toppings; some favorite toppings are ground meat & onion (here is recipe for the Turkish flat breads with ground meat and onion, Kiymali Pide),Turkish kasar (cheddar) cheese, feta cheese & spinach, cheese and pastrami (Turkish dried beef), cheese and Turkish spicy sauage (sucuk). Sometimes an egg or two can be cracked over pide towards the end of baking too, as in some examples of Karadeniz Pidesi a specialty of a pide prepared in the Black Sea region.
We do enjoy this combination of spinach, feta, onions and pepper; sautéed onions and pepper add a delicious sweetness. There is also a gentle but lovely heat from the Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional), for a delicious balance. You can also use grated mozarella or mild cheddar cheese instead of feta cheese. I hope you enjoy this vegetarian Turkish specialty, our version of pizza, packed with flavor and have a chance to recreate at home.
- For the dough:
- 300 gr/ 15 oz. / 3 cups + 1 tbsp. all-purpose plain flour
- 14 gr/4 tsp. dried yeast (2 packs of 7gr dried yeast)
- 8 fl. oz. /1 cup warm water
- 45ml/3 tbsp. olive oil
- For the topping:
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 200 gr/7 oz. spinach leaves, washed and pat dried
- 200gr/ 7 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut in half lengthways and thinly sliced
- 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste (optional; you can use ½ tsp. if you prefer less spicy or omit)
- 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt (optional, as feta cheese maybe quite salty too) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 egg + 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. olive oil to brush the pide
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F
- Stir in the dried yeast in a small bowl and pour in ½ cup warm water. Dissolve the yeast in water, mixing with your fingers. Set aside for the yeast mixture to get frothy for 5 minutes.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in 2 tbsp. olive oil and the yeast mixture. Pour in the remaining ½ warm water to the flour mixture. Using your hands, draw in the flour from the sides and work the mixture into a dough. Knead for 3 -5 minutes, until you reach a soft, smooth dough. The dough gets sticky as you knead, so pour the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and stir in additional 1 tbsp. flour to help shape into a soft dough.
- Place the dough in large bowl and cover with a cling film. Leave it in a warm place for minimum 1 hour; it will be doubled in size.
- In the meantime, prepare your filling. Heat 15ml/1tbsp. olive oil in a wide heavy pan and stir in the onions and peppers. Sauté the onions and peppers for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until they start to soften. Turn the heat off and stir in the spinach, red pepper paste (if using) and feta cheese, combine well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; the topping is ready.
- Once the dough is risen, place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for a minute then divide the dough into two pieces and roll into two balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough balls into 2 oval shapes of 20 cm x 40 cm (about 8”x16”), with ½ cm (0.2”) thickness.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the 2 oval flat bread dough on the tray.
- Spread the filling evenly over the 2 flat breads, leaving 2 cm at the edges as a border with no filling (I’ve found it’s easier to spread the filling while the oval dough is in the tray). Fold in the sides to act as border to keep the filling intact. Squeeze the oval dough at each end to make it pointy.
- Beat an egg in a small bowl and mix it with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Brush the edges of dough with this mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, until the pides golden brown and crispy at the edges.
- Once cool, cut into slices and serve.