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Tag Archives | Turkish savory pastries

Homemade Pogaca; Turkish savory pastry with cheese and parsley

Scrumptious pogacas, savory pastry with cheese, olives and vavious fillings, displayed at a bakery in Istanbul

Scrumptious pogacas, savory pastry with cheese, olives and various fillings, displayed at a bakery in Istanbul

Delicious pogacas and pastries; a favorite Turkish breakfast or tea time treat

Delicious pogacas and pastries; a favorite Turkish breakfast or tea time treat

These delicious cheesy pogacas (poh-ah-cha) are a favorite breakfast or tea time treat in Turkey and we love them. They are easy to make at home; make your kitchen smell heavenly and they are very popular with children, as well as adults. Bakeries, street stalls sell freshly baked pogacas (plain, with white cheese, olives or with potato & cheese filling) in Turkey and with a glass of cay aside, they make a delicious and affordable breakfast or tea time treat.

My homemade peynirli pogaca, savory pastry with feta and parsley; easy to make and delicious

My homemade peynirli pogaca, savory pastry with cheese and parsley; easy to make and delicious

My children adore pogaca and we made our peynirli pogaca, savory pastry with feta cheese together; they loved getting involved. My pogacas are rather chunky, like the ones you would get in bakeries in Turkey and one is enough per person. You can make smaller ones if you like. They are absolutely delicious straight from the oven, but they also keep well for a few days. The next day (if any left!), you can microwave them for 10 seconds or gently heat under the grill, so delicious. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

 Peynirli pogaca; Turkish savory treat with feta; great for breakfast or as a snack.

Peynirli pogaca; Turkish savory treat with white cheese and parsley; great for breakfast or as a snack.

Makes 11 pogacas

Preparation time: 20 min (+1 hour for dough to rise)                  Cooking time: 25- 30 minutes

For the dough:

7gr dry yeast (1 sachet)

425 gr / 3 ¼ cups all-purpose plain flour

5 ml / 1 tsp. salt

3 oz./ 1/3 cup plain (whole milk) yoghurt

1 egg, beaten

4 fl. oz. / ½ cup mild olive oil or sunflower oil

4 fl. oz . / ½ cup warm milk

For the filling:

5.3 oz./ 1 cup Turkish white cheese (or Greek feta cheese, if Turkish white cheese is not available) crumbled

15 gr/ 0.4 oz./½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the topping:

1 egg, beaten

Sesame seeds and nigella seeds to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F

 

Combine the warm milk and dry yeast in a small bowl and mix well. Let it stand for 5 minutes so that it gets foamy.

Let the dough to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes

Let the dough to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes

In a large bowl, stir in the flour and salt and make a well in the middle. Add the yoghurt, mild olive oil (or sunflower oil) and the beaten egg to the flour mixture, in the middle. Stir in the foamy yeast mixture and knead well with your hands for a few minutes, until the dough comes together. Shape the dough like a ball, place in the large bowl and cover with a cling film. Let it rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley make a delicious filling

Crumbled Turkish white cheese or Greek feta cheese and fresh parsley make a delicious filling

While the dough is rising, prepare your filling. In a medium size bowl, stir in the crumbled Turkish white cheese or Greek feta cheese and chopped parsley and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F and grease a baking tray.

Once the dough has risen, punch down and divide into 11 equal pieces, each about a size of a small tangerine. Roll each piece into a ball, and then flatten into a round flat circle with your fingertips, about 10 cm, 4” in diameter (you can make them smaller if you prefer). Place a spoonful of the filling mixture (take care not to overfill) at one side of the circle dough, leaving a little unfilled dough margin near the edges. Fold the circle to cover the filling to form a half moon shape. Make sure the dough covers the filling and meet the other end. Seal the two ends of the dough, pressing with your fingertips well. Place the stuffed dough on the greased tray and repeat this procedure with the rest of the dough pieces.

Pogacas, decorated with sesame & nigella seeds, ready to bake!

Pogacas, decorated with sesame & nigella seeds, ready to bake!

Place the prepared pogacas, stuffed dough pieces side by side on a greased tray. Brush them with the beaten egg and sprinkle with nigella and sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack for about 25 – 30 minutes, until they are golden brown at top.

Peynirli pogaca, Turkish savory pastry with feta & parsley, ready to eat!

Peynirli pogaca, Turkish savory pastry with cheese & parsley, ready to eat!

Serve warm; glass of Cay, Turkish tea goes really well with these delicious pogacas.

My homemade peynirli pogaca, savory pastry with feta and parsley; easy to make and delicious

My homemade peynirli pogaca, savory pastry with cheese and parsley; easy to make and delicious

 

Afiyet olsun,

Ozlem

Asure – Noah’s Dessert 

Asure or Ashura,  delicious dessert of grains, pulses and dried fruit

Asure or Ashura, Noah’s Ark dessert; a special dessert of grains, pulses, dried fruit & pomegranate seeds

This delicious dessert of grains, pulses and dried fruit, referred as Asure or Ashura – Noah’s Dessert-, is most probably one of Turkey’s most famous dessert. According to legend, Noah made this dessert on the ark by combining whatever ingredients were left on the ark. Asure or Ahsura is also the traditional dessert that is served on the 10th day of the Muslim month Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is always made in large quantities and shared with friends and neighbors.

Though the ingredients list is pretty rich, I believe whatever grains, pulses and dried fruit you have in your pantry will do. And if you are short of time, why not using good quality pre-cooked chickpeas and beans in cans; I am all up for it if it helps making this wonderful dessert. Adding the pomegranate seeds over the top give a festive touch and make the dessert refreshing too. Here is the link for my Asure recipe, hope you enjoy it.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Greetings from Istanbul!- Istanbul'dan Merhaba – A Snapshot of Tastes, Sights and Delights

Dear Mother, Anneanne, with the grandchildren – time for a feast!

Greetings, or as we say in Turkish, a warm Merhaba to you all from Istanbul! It has been a few days since we have been at home, Istanbul, and it feels wonderful. Here I wanted to share a few snapshots of tastes, sights and delights that welcomed us here. As always, it feels amazing to be at home, spending time with family and friends. Mealtimes are always special in Turkey; the family and friends gathers around the table – the more the merrier! – sharing a delicious bite and catching up with each other. My dear parents prepared us a wonderful feast, and they always taste even better when enjoyed together.

Mother’s yoghurt soup with bulgur balls

Here is Mother’s Yoghurt Soup with bulgur balls from Antakya – this is a similar dish to Gaziantep’s Yuvalama – Yoghurt soup with bulgur balls and chickpeas; very delicious and healthy. It can be a meal on its own with some nice crusty bread aside.

Mevlubi; Antakya’s upside down rice with sauteed eggplants, potatoes and meat; a delicious regional specialty.

Mevlubi on a plate; the eggplants, potatoes and meat & rice melt in the mouth

Mevlubi was on our table; a special dish from Antakya; we cook the sauteed eggplant, potatoes and meat together with the rice on a slow heat and then turn the dish upside down. All the flavors blend and complement each other so well, a feast for the senses. Here is the recipe if you’d like to have a look.

The Turkish breakfast; sucuklu yumurta, cay, simit – my favorite meal of the day.

 

Ali passing the second round of cay – Turkish tea; the most popular drink at home

We indulged, enjoyed the wonderful dinner and thought we won’t be able to eat for another week. But no, by the time it was morning, we were ready for the Turkish breakfast! Turkish sausages, sucuk with eggs, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, cheese, olives, honey and more, crowned with cay, Turkish tea; – my favorite meal of the day.

The Bosphorus bridge and a passing traditional ferry, Vapur at Ortakoy – Istanbul

Ortakoy Market is full of decorative items, ceramic pottery and more

A good brisk walk was in order to after all that indulgence and we headed to the vibrant Ortakoy Market. You can find many stalls selling  jewelry, pottery, decorative items as well as delicious streetfood in Ortakoy on Sundays.

Asli Borek in Besiktas; delicious variety of boreks, savory pastries with vavious fillings awaits you there.

I was off to Besiktas the next day. Besiktas is one of my favorite districts in Istanbul; you can still find the village atmosphere there; the borekci, savory pastry shop selling all kinds of boreks, vibrant fish market, groceries selling seasonal produce and all small scale shops still exist and everyone knows one another. Asli Borek in Besiktas Carsi (Market) is a favorite with freshly baked cheese & parsley filled borek, tepsi Boregi and cheese and spinach filled boreks, Ispanakli Borek; they melt in the mouth.

Peynirli, Ispanakli borek; Cheese & Spinach filled pastry – goes so well with a cup of tea, cay.

 With a glass of cay, these boreks go down so well. You see locals popping in an out and getting their freshly baked boreks with a cup of tea, for their breakfast – my kind of start for the day.

Tulumba tatlisi; syrup soaked crispy outside but soft inside pastries are amongst the sweet treats offered at Borekcis and Pastanes – Patiseries

The main event on Monday was my Turkish cookery class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute. We cooked and enjoyed Pistachio lamb kebabs, lentil soup, kunefe  with enthuiastic food lovers together. Nice to hear that they felt they can have a go at them at home and that the class inspired.

Cooking together at the Istanbul Culinary Institute

I had a special guest, my mother, in the class on Monday, for the first time. It was lovely to share with her and her presence was vital as being the kunefe expert! 🙂

Preparing the kunefe with my mother at the class, a very special guest.

And here is the glorious, syrup soaked, cheese and Turkish thick clotted cream, kaymak filled kunefe from the class! The crispy golden pastry strands makes such a wonderful contrast with the syrup soaked melted cheese in the middle; a very special treat.

Syrup soaked, cheese filled baked pastry strands, Kunefe – a very festive dessert.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the highlights of our Istanbul trip, and I hope the recipes can inspire you to have a go. They really are not difficult and they can help make any day special. There are plenty more to share, hope soon.

Until next time, Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheese and Parsley filled Tray Pastry – Peynirli Tepsi Boregi

This wonderful pie has to be the most popular and loved pastry in Turkey, and due to popular demand, it is reappearing:)We just baked it again yesterday, for a friend, as it is her daughter’s favorite pastry. It has been cooked at homes often, and you can eat almost in every café or restaurant at home. I use the fillo pastry sheets for this recipe and it works well (traditionally, we use the fresh paper thin pastry sheets called yufka and it is wonderful, if you can find it). If frozen, you need to defrost the fillo pastry overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I like to combine the feta cheese with mozzarella in this recipe to make it moister. Another good tip is using the egg and milk mixture amongst the layers of the pastry sheets; that really makes the pastry moister.

At home, boreks, savory pastries are a very popular snack with ladies’ tea time gatherings and immensely popular with children too. It also makes a wonderful lunch or appetizer with a little green salad by the side.

Cheese and parsley filled tray pastry; Peynirli tepsi boregi; easy and delicious for the whole family

Cheese and parsley filled tray pastry; Peynirli tepsi boregi; easy and delicious for the whole family

Serves 6-8
Preparation time – 25 minutes Cooking time – 35 minutes

150gr/7oz feta cheese, mashed with a fork
115 gr / 4oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, beaten
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil to grease the tray
1 pack or 24 sheets of fillo pastry (24cmx25cm/about 9″x10″)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the egg&milk; mixture:
2 eggs, beaten
120ml/4fl oz/1/2 cup milk

120ml/4fl oz/1/2 cup water

30ml/2tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 180c/350 F/gas mark 4

In a bowl, mix the feta cheese, shredded mozzarella, parsley and two of the beaten eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining eggs, olive oil, water and milk (for the egg&milk; mixture).

Grease a rectangular baking dish with a little olive oil. Lay the pastry sheets along its long side and trim or cut if needed, as the size of the sheets vary in each country. Open the sheets only when you are ready to use them and cover the rest with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out.

Lay two sheets in the greased baking dish. Pour a little of the milk-olive oil-water mixture (about 3 tablespoons) all over the sheet. Repeat this layering until you reached the 12th sheet (or half of your pack). The pastry may look like swimming in the milky mixture a little, don’t worry, that’s the way it should be. Once cooked, the pastry will absorb all this moisture and you will have a lovely, moist pie.

Spread the cheese filling over the 12th sheet evenly. Continue laying two sheets of fillo, pouring over each the milk mixture, until you reach 24th sheet. Sprinkle the milk mixture on the top of the pie.

Bake the pie in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into pieces. This dish can be successfully reheated.

Afiyet Olsun!

Important tips: If you would like to cut back on the amount of the eggs, you can omit or decrease them in the cheese filling. 2) Once cooked, if you keep the pie covered with flax or parchment paper, this will keep the pie moist. 3) This pie freezes wonderfully. Once cooled, put the pie in a freezer bag and seal. When you’d like to reheat (at 180C/ 350 F for about 15 minutes), put the pie in a greased baking tray and sprinkle the top with a little milk and water mixture to give some moisture.

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