vegetarian

Egyptian Pita with Baked Falafel and Carrot Tomato Soup

Baked Falafel

Raw April has begun with its streams running across the pavement and the crazy sun blinding you after all the winter gloom and the wind blowing in your face trying to get inside your clothes. You can have got snow, rain and sun all squeezed into one hour. Those swings of weather can sometime be pretty tiresome but you won’t fool us, April dear, we know spring is here!

Aish Baladi - Egyptian Flatbread www.karenskitchenstories.com

When spring turns into summer, there’s already that joy you have in your heart that you don’t really notice it. When summer turns into autumn there’s always so much drama. When autumn turns into winter… Well here in St Petersburg there’s hardly any (even fine) line between them. But when winter turns into spring there’s no drama, there’s plain happiness.

Baked Falafel

Children playing hide-and-seek outside (well, that’ll be the least loud of all their games at the moment), there’s light until almost 8 pm (already in April!) – and that after those long winter months with barely any light at all! Although the change in the nature is gradual process, the difference is so stark here in the North that you inevitably dedicate a post or two to this spring coming every year 🙂 Oh that city of contrasts, our glorious St Petersburg.

Aish Baladi - Egyptian Flatbread www.karenskitchenstories.com

I haven’t done anything Easter-specific this year, although I am thinking of making some poppy seed roll sometime soon. It’s our family classic for the Easter time. No died eggs either. Instead I’m going to share with you an idea of a well-rounded vegetarian meal – a spicy chunky soup with a whole0wheat pita filled with baked falafel, salad and yogurt. Let’s start with the soup:

Carrot Tomato Soup

A year ago – Avant-Garde Architecture at Narvskaya Zastava

2 years ago – St Petersburg in March

3 years ago – Kaliningrad in Spring: Ships, Sea and Robots (I miss this city!)

4 years ago – Tea Muffins with Blueberry Jam

5 years ago – Crostata and Challah, United

6 years ago – Bring Some Artisan Bread to Your Life

Carrot Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium carrots – roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions – roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • soy sauce
  • 2-3 T tomato puree
  • a handful or two of red lentils, rinsed
  • stalks from coriander, dill and parsley – optional
  • wheat bran
  • dried thyme, basil, dill, marjoram
  • paprika, pepper, curry powder
  • salt, (brown) sugar

Procedure:

First, sautee your carrots and onions in a frying pan with some sunflower oil. I also add all the dry herbs and seasoning (except for the salt) at this stage. When the oil seem to be all gone I add a splash or two of soy sauce and continue cooking the veggies at low heat. Add your minced garlic and continue cooking. When the veggies are almost soft, I add some water (which also helps get all those dried herbs stuck to the bottom get into the soup and infuse it with their flavours while making washing up easier) and the tomato puree. As we don’t like our soups sour, I add a tablespoon of brown sugar to counterbalance the acidity of tomatoes. You’ll get sort of a ‘sauce’.

Meanwhile start heating you water for the soup – I use a medium soup pot, that’s about 2 liters. You can always add more water if you get too thick a soup. We have this thing of keeping the washed & cleaned stalks from fresh coriander, dill and parsley in a container which we put in the fridge for the next soup we’re making. As soon as the water starts boiling, we throw all these stalks in and thus make a sort of a ‘broth’, leaving the water to simmer for a while. We then remove the stalks before adding the rest of the ingredients. You can skip this step or make your broth with any other way you prefer.

Rinse the lentils and add them to the water (do not turn the heat off). Then pour in all the veggies together with the ‘sauce’ and season with salt. Continue cooking for some time. Then fish out most of the carrots, onions and anything that gets into the ladle. Blend the veggies until desired consistency and return into the pot. Reheat the soup a bit and check it for the consistency and salt. The good thing about chunky soups is that you can add more water (if needs be) and then just say you wanted a less thick soup 🙂

Carrot Tomato Soup

Remarks: I tend to leave some carrots and (mostly) onion ‘whole’ for a chunkier texture. Serve with fresh herbs and sour cream.

Result: Hearty, chunky and spicy. Also a tad sweet with all the carrots inside! By the way, the soup does not feel too carrot-y as it is pretty spicy.

And now on to the first Egyptian recipe on my blog – the traditional flatbread Aish Baladi that is made with 100% whole wheat flour. I was looking for a different recipe for pita bread and this seemed to be a nice one. Which it is!

Aish Baladi - Egyptian Flatbread www.karenskitchenstories.com

Aish means ‘life’ and Baladi is anything ‘of the country’, traditional, rural etc etc. (By the way, a Wikipedia page leads to this very recipe shared by Karen, I found it out when googling what Baladi means 🙂 ). So you can imagine that this is going to be quite a hearty bread indeed!

Aish Baladi - Egyptian Flatbread www.karenskitchenstories.com

Aish Baladi or Egyptian Flatbread from www.karenskitchenstories.com will make chewy flavourful pita-like bread. Follow the link to get the full recipe with all the instructions.

My changes: Did not make these 100% wholewheat – mixed in some plain all-purpose flour too. I didn’t bake both batches one by one, as the oven was occupied in between, so the other 4 balls of dough were waiting much longer for their turn. Interestingly they were much more pocket-like (not that flat as the first batch) and with a more developed flavour as well. I baked both batches for a bit longer than 8 minutes, flipping them upside down somewhere near the end of the baking time.

Remarks: I bet you won’t make pita out of just plain flour after this recipe anymore! There’s just so much flavour to it, that even if you eat it as part of a composite dish (as in falafel), you cannot miss it, you do pause for a while to contemplate this pita’s taste.  Were pretty fine when I reheated them in the turned down oven (after I baked falafel there) the next day – there was those extra crusty parts to it as well.

Result: Sheer wholewheat joy. These flatbreads have a taste of their own. Can be used for falafels or gyros (I can imagine) or just enjoyed plain. The wheat bran really does make a difference!

Baked Falafel

As for the falafel part of it, I was using a recipe which is no longer online, although it did go wrong at the moment of frying (that’s why I rarely fry anything, I so much prefer baking!) – it just disintegrated into bits of chickpea puree and onions 😉 So instead I added an egg (which was optional) and more wheat bran and baked the lot instead. Today I used up the leftover chickpea puree and made more falafel straight in the oven, without even trying to fry them. I guess for me it’s just the best option. So here’s the baked falafel recipe:

Baked Falafel

Baked Falafel

Ingredients:

  • 250-300 g chickpeas
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • dried oregano, thyme, basil, dill
  • curry powder, paprika
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T tomato puree
  • 2 T wheat bran and / or buckwheat flakes (aka instant buckwheat)
  • wheat bran for rolling in

Procedure:

Soak your chickpeas in water overnight or about 8 hours (I did it during the day, removing their skins all the while). Drain them, add fresh water to cover them and cook over medium heat. Remove all the foam that forms with a spoon and continue cooking until the chickpeas soften. This might take more than an hour and the water might disappear almost entirely. I forgot to add salt but you can add it towards the end. Drain (I retained some of the water) and then blend the chickpeas to the desired consistency. Finely chop the onions and add to the chickpeas. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough wheat bran to get a soft but pretty thick mixture. Place some wheat bran on a plate, take a tablespoon of the mixture and shape it into a sort of a patty, then roll it in the wheat bran. Place your patties apart on a greased baking dish (can use parchment paper instead). Bake in the oven preheated to 190-200 ‘C for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for several minutes more.

Remarks: Baking falafels instead of frying them has several advantages, like using much less oil, being free while the falafels are in the oven, and also making sure they do not disintegrate while cooking in the oil 🙂 I didn’t make all the falafel at once, leaving some chickpea puree for the next day. I guess any bran and flakes will do as long as they soak in some of the juices and help you for the falafels. You can also use flour instead.

Result: Crispy and flavourful, a tad on the dry side (typical for falafel) which can be aided by some yogurt.

To assemble falafel in pita: My version is to cut the pita ‘pocket’ leaving an edge uncut (if you know what I mean), put some yogurt on the bottom, then in any order – falafel, cucumbers, bell pepper, salad leaves and more yogurt.

Baked Falafel

Try other variants of pita and tomato / carrot soup. You might want to try chickpea soup.

These recipes go to the Yeast Bread, Lunch/ Dinner and Country-specific collections.

G.

sweet

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

Inspired by a colleague who brought us some Iranian pistachios to the office (those were good!) and another colleague who baked her own sukhariki (Russian for rusks) recently, I just had to make some biscotti too. With pistachios.

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

I ended up following an American take on an Italian recipe and using Greek pistachios, Russian chocolate and dried fruits from Finnish muesli which do not necessarily come from Finland as you can imagine 🙂 And that having in mind to ‘finally follow a recipe to the letter’. No way!

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

A year ago – Architectural Walks in Kolpino Part 5 – Around Railway Station

Two years ago – Old-Fashioned Apple Slab and Greek Crumble

Three years ago – Vermont Sourdough and Yellow Roses

Four years ago – All the Soviet Children…

Five years ago – Flammekueche

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios adapted from Chocolate, Raspberry, and Walnut Whole Wheat Biscotti on www.kingarthurflour.com will make crunchy sweet rusks, almost 100% whole wheat if you follow the recipe 100%. The recipe is on the website; here are my changes and remarks:

Ingredients: had to use a mixture of wholewheat flour + a bit of all-purpose flour as the batter seemed too sticky to handle; added less salt; instead of freeze-dried raspberries (what are they anyway?) used raisins and other dried fruits from muesli; used whole pistachios instead of chopped walnuts.

Procedure: did not flatten the logs that much for the first bake and thus the biscotti turned out smaller (shorter) in size; the procedure might take some time but there’s something so enjoyable in it that you’ll want to do it again.

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

Remarks: Already after the first bake the biscotti (or rather logs of biscotti) looked pretty attractive with a crack along the top. Be careful with the timing: during the second bake you’ll have to flip the biscotti over halftime through and they might seem not that crunchy enough. However, 10 minutes after they will be more than crunchy, believe me! By the way, these biscotti do not contain any butter or oil. I would add less sugar next time, as chocolate and dried fruits already contain sugar.

Whole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

Result: Chewy, crunchy, sweet. The pistachios (from Aegina) I used were slightly salty which added that little something in contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. The (original) raspberries should have contributed to the appearance too, however even with the modest raisins these biscotti have a very rustic look.

Want more biscotti? Try these Almond Biscotti or the Greek Ouzo and Pistachio Paximadia or simply Biscotti.

Thanks God we’re past the shortest days of the year, the light will gradually come back, drop by drop. We’re having no snow and consequently no sun here in St Petersburg. Wearing sneakers at the end of December reminds of my other December, 6 years ago in Thessaloniki, almost entirely spent in a T-shirt 🙂

This post goes to my Chocolate and Sweet collections.

P.S. Domes of the St Sophia Cathedral in Veliky Novgorod on some of the photos on a Catholic Christmas Eve unintended.

G.

bread · sourdough

Improvising with Sourdough Bread or Being Lazy?

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

I’ve grown lazy enough these days to start baking without a recipe. This concerns both bread and sweet things. Not all of my free-baking experiments are successful but I guess I get some extra pleasure from those which do happen to be successful. And there’s always this risky feeling of experimenting which I do enjoy!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

So what I do is feed my rye sourdough culture with rye flour + water and then after an overnight rest I divide it and use the larger amount for the rye bread and a smaller for white bread. Sometimes if I just need some white bread, I feed the culture with white flour.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Thanks to the now mature sourdough culture (been using it since 2011) I usually do no add any yeast, but this time I wanted a more ‘fluffy’ result with my white bread, so I added a bit of instant yeast to the dough. I also tend to overload my bread with seeds and bran, so sometimes it all results in quite a dense and moist crumb, just like this time when I also added rye malt:

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Oh, breaking this just-out-of-the-oven bread is so very tantalizing!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Of course the rye version which I make with rye flour + all-purpose / whole-wheat flour does not rise as much in the oven – although it does rise a lot before baking, as this rye flour is so very reactive!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

If you’re looking for a perfect sourdough bread recipe, it doesn’t exist. I mean, you should probably just figure it our for yourself. I ‘created’ mine out of Darnitsky bread recipe which I’ve been using for quite a long time already.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

For me, the best formula is to take several tablespoons of sourdough culture from the fridge, feed it with about 200 g of water and 200 of rye flour, then leave it overnight. At this point you can either split it for two breads or make one large loaf. Then I add about 200 g of water, 200 g or more of rye flour, more or less the same amount of white flour, salt, various extras like wheat, oat or rye bran, coriander, sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds, oatmeal, rye malt, sometimes honey etc. I try to achieve a sort of thickish dough so that it will keep the shape, if it’s going to be rye bread it will be sticky but you should be able to fold it and almost knead it. I then leave it covered for more than an hour, sometimes I make several folds and leave it for some more time to rest (rise). I then flour a glass bowl, shape the bread into a round loaf, flour it and place it in the bowl. Alternatively, I make rolls if I see that the dough (usually with more white flour than rye) is quite easy to shape. I leave it to rise for yet another hour covered and preheat the oven to 225 ‘C with a pan on the bottom (for steam) and a reversed tray in the middle (it acts as a baking stone for me). I then reverse the loaf onto a baking mat / paper, make several slashes and slide it onto the hot tray. I pour some water into the pan on the bottom to create steam (not much so that it evaporates and I don’t need to take the pan out during the baking). I usually do not change the temperature but if I see that the loaf is browning too much, I might decrease the temperature or move it to a lower rack. The baking takes from 25-30 minutes (for the rolls) to 45-50 for the loaf.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

This might not sound as a very precise formula but then this is what I call experimenting with the sourdough! You never know even with a perfect recipe whether your bread will come out right or not, because this living thing called sourdough culture can have its moods 🙂

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

What’s your personal sourdough bread formula?

Adding this post to Sourdough bread collection.

G.

bread · Greek recipe · pies · vegetarian

Greek: Grandma’s Cheese Pies and Homemade Village Bread

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

I’ve got two Greek recipes to share with you: cheese pies and bread. Both recipes call for whole-wheat flour which in Greece is not that very common unless you really turn to home or rather village cooking. And that’s exactly what I like in cooking – let’s walk on the rustic side of it!

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

1 year ago – Italian Sourdough Bread with Potatoes and Herbs

2 years ago – Sunflower Seed Rye Sourdough or We Need Sun Here

3 years ago – Thessaloniki

4 years ago – Mangoes and Rye to Welcome Spring

(Greek) Grandma’s Cheese Pies or Tiropitakia tis giagias (Τυροπιτάκια της γιαγιάς) translated and adapted from bettyscuisine.blogspot.com will make lots of pies with rubbery cheese filling – a Greek version of hand pies. Beware (:) the entire recipe will make about 40 big pies! I halved the recipe and yet got about 2 trays of pies 🙂 See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg whole-wheat flour
  • 1 Greek yogurt case – was not sure about the volume so added about a cup for 500 g flour, using a mixture of milk and kefir
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil + added salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 700 g Feta, crumbled with a fork – I used a 250 g pack of 5% fat tvorog (cottage cheese) + 290g Adygea cheese (for all three fillings) + fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Second filling was some cooked millet and third – Adygea cheese + green onions, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

Procedure:

Mix flour with yogurt (I would suggest adjusting the amount of liquid accordingly), soda, eggs and oil. Knead well and divide into pieces (I also let the dough rest about 20 minutes which made it softer). Roll each piece into a round disk and place a spoonful of the filling on one side. Cover the filling with the other side of the disk and pinch the edges. You should get crescent-shaped pies (I also tried other shapes, see remarks). Place the pies on a greased baking tray (I used a silicon mat) and bake at 200 ‘C for 20 minutes (before baking I sprinkled the pies with some water).

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

Remarks: My pies took exactly 20 minutes to bake – no matter what shape I used. First I thought about making small pies just like pelmeni (or Russian ravioli) but soon got tired of all the rolling, cutting and pinching, so made medium-small pies with the rest of the dough. And I should really warn you that we’re dealing here with a truly Greek recipe that will feed all your relatives! 🙂 So I would suggest making only half of the dough recipe or you might end up with no filling! Even with half of the dough I still had to invent more filling options thus adding fresh herbs (rosemary was good!) and using both cottage cheese and soft white cheese.

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

Result: I tried the smaller pies right out of the oven – they were hot (apparently) and rather rubbery with all the soft cheese inside. If you’re using real Feta (lucky you!) I bet your pies will be quite salty and won’t need any special spicy twist to them (the dough might seem a bit bland even with the added salt). You can serve these as a starter – or if you make them big as the author suggests, they can become your lunch or dinner! 

(Greek) Grandma's Cheese

***

Homemade Village Bread

I’m still looking forward to finding that very recipe which will result in the super soft and super whole-wheat rustic bread I ate almost each day at the free (!) student canteen in Thessaloniki. Gosh, even my parents remember it! 🙂 I guess the thing was in the flour which was rough but yet gave that wonderful flavour to the bread. And it was soft too – with a crunchy crust. Oh, that bread was perfect… So here’s what I call the Greek size:

Homemade Village Bread

Homemade Village Bread or Khoriatiko psomi spitiko viologiko (Χωριάτικο ψωμί σπιτικό βιολογικό) translated and adapted from www.sintagespareas.gr will make a huge flagrant bread with super soft crumb and yet all those healthy bran bits inside. See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg ‘village’ flour (whole wheat) – made a mixture of whole wheat + all purpose + wheat and rye bran + some oats for the topping
  • 2 packages of instant dried yeast – used less
  • 500 ml lukewarm water – had to use more
  • 1 shot of olive oil (Greek, please!)
  • 2 tsp salt

Procedure:

In a big plastic bowl (not necessarily🙂 mix all the flour with the yeast. Add salt and gradually pour in the lukewarm water, mixing well with your hands (yep, that’s how you do it!). Knead vigorously so that it becomes soft. Cover the bowl with a towel and a blanket (I just used plastic). Leave the dough to double in size in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Then add the oil and knead well again. Place the dough in a greased and floured baking pan (preferably a large thick non-stick pan or tray). Slash the surface (I also brushed it with olive oil + sprinkled oats). Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C for 10 minutes, place the bread on the middle rack and bake it for about an hour (I had to move it to the lower rack at the end and baked just 55 min.).

When the bread is ready, take it out of the oven and out of the pan and leave it on a rack so that it gets rid of all the moisture inside.

Homemade Village Bread

Remarks: With all its Greek dimensions the bread did bake through! However, if you’re not planning to gobble this entire loaf at once (which you will surely do if you try just a bit!) and would prefer to freeze a part of it, I would suggest baking two loaves out of this recipe. I eventually cut the bread in – still – huge pieces and froze them. Beware of the burning top – I had to move the pan to the lower rack as the oats started burning and the voluminous top was menacing to reach the upper heater.

Homemade Village Bread

Result: The crumb is really very soft – and crumbly while the crust is… you get it, crusty! :). It’s hard to slice this bread properly – but I’m sure you will manage without perfect slices! This bread won’t keep well because a). you will eat it fast no matter how huge it is and b). the crumb has lots of moisture in it.

Homemade Village Bread

Hope I’ve given you a desire to bake some nice rustic Greek food. Ideal at the end of the winter (let’s hope we’re getting there soon!).

This post goes to Lunch / Dinner, Leavened Bread and Greek recipe collections.

In neverending search for wonderful food, always yours,

G.

cookies · sweet

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

It’s been a while since my last post here and this post won’t be long either. Just wanted to share with you this winter-time recipe of Whole Wheat Fig Bars. The figs are used dry but then you book them creating a sort of fig jam filling. And the flavour is very summer-like! When we were in Greece we would go around the island with my Mom and pick up the over ripe figs which have already fallen – gosh, why waste all this goodness and buy them in a supermarket instead? So don’t waste your time, go make some some Whole Wheat Fig Bars and enjoy your piece of summer in the middle of winter!

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

1 year ago How to Make Silky Cream Cheese at Home

2 years ago – Apricot Oatmeal Bar With Pistachios

3 years ago – After Apples Come the Berries

4 years ago – 2 Energy-Boosting Sweets to Keep Your Mind and Spirit Up

Whole Wheat Fig Bars adapted from www.food.com will make bars with jammy fig filling and crunchy seeds, with that very Greek summer flavour! Visit the original website for the recipe. Here are my changes and suggestions:

I used a mixture of regular white ans brow sugar, butter instead of shortening or margarine and also opted for the orange juice. The procedure is quite easy – although you will have to cook the figs first. Also I луззе my dough in the fridge overnight but still it was kind of sandy and wouldn’t roll out easily (well, what would you expect from just whole wheat flour!). I made bigger bars (i.e. less in number) and baked them longer including several minutes with the oven switched to the ‘only top’ mode.

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

Remarks: As the author suggests, these bars can also be made with dates and I think that’s a good idea too! I wonder if you can actually substitute it with some jam filling, instead of boiling the dry fruit.

Result: Those fig seeds and the orange zest make the bars pretty unusual in terms of flavour. The fact that these bars are 100% whole wheat is an obvious plus too, making them a little bit healthier, you know. I also liked this other ‘fashion’ of shaping the bars (i.e. precutting them), they look like those jam or nut filled treats you can still find in Russian confectionery stores.

This post goes to Sweet recipe collection.

G.

Greek recipe · sweet · sweet bread

Fanouropita, Byzantine Nut and Orange Cake

Vizantini fanouropita

Let’s bake a Greek holy cake today! The name fanouropita refers to Saint Phanourios the Great Martyr & Newly Appeared of Rhodes, Άγιο Φανούριο. The cake is baked on this saint’s day, August 27th, and is cut in 40 pieces. The legend says that St Phanourios’ mother was a heartless sinner who treated the poor very tough. For which she obviously went to hell. Her son tried to save her but failed, so Archangel Michael together with St Phanourios pulled her with an onion skin which she once threw to a beggar. But three other women tried to escape with her too, so she pushed them back to hell. Then Archangel Michael renounced from helping her and St Phanourios begged him to save her soul.

Vizantini fanouropita

This is why the housewives bake this cake and take it to the church to later share it with the neighbors, so that the mother of the saint could be forgiven. It’s believed that the saint will help make appear lost things or a husband for an unwed girl or a job for an unemployed, all through this Lenten cake 🙂 I’m not sure my cake was holy but there surely was that ‘holy’ aroma coming out of the oven when this cake was baked!

Vizantini fanouropita

They say that the authentic fanouropita should only have 9 (or 7 or 11, all are ‘holy’ numbers) ingredients though these could be varied. For example, some of the fanouropita recipes have raisins. This cake is done with ground walnuts (which I substituted with cheaper peanuts) and have 9 ingredients all in all.

Vizantini fanouropita

1 year ago – Winter Fairy Tale and Semolina Bread

2 years ago – Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee and Cakes

3 years ago – Join the Soviet New Year Table

4 years ago – Sourdough Breads

βυζαντινή φανουρόπιτα (Vizantini fanouropita) or Byzantine Nut and Orange Cake translated and adapted from pandespani.com will male a Greek-size (giant) super flavourful moist cake. See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients

  • 500 g self-raising flour – I mixed all-purpose with wholewheat flour, salt, baking powder and soda
  • 3/4 cups olive oil – I substituted some with sunflower oil
  • 1 cup sugar – if you want it sweeter, increase the amount by 1/2 cups, but I wouldn’t do it
  • 2 cups or 500 ml orange juice
  • 2/3 cups ground walnuts – I blended some peanuts
  • 1 Tbs cloves – substituted it with mahlepi
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 shot of cognac – substituted it with honey
  • 4-5 Tbs white sesame seeds – I used less as my cake was smaller

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 250 ‘C.
Beat all the ingredients apart from flour and sesame with a mixer (I did it by hand), add the flour and mix until you get a homogenized batter. Grease a baking dish (I used a round silicon cake tin), pour the batter in and level it out with a spatula. Generously sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake at 200 ‘C for 10-15 minutes so that it acquires the colour. Then decrease the temperature to 170-180 ‘C and continue baking for 30-35 minutes more. The baking time depends on the size so check the doneness with a toothpick. You might want to cover your cake with foil if it browns too fast.

Vizantini fanouropita

Remarks: Peanuts are great, probably less distinct as the walnuts would be but still nice, particularly when you get a larger bit! The authentic fanouropita should be small and round but as this is a Greek recipe supposedly to be shared into 40 pieces, you can imagine that ‘small’ means giant here. I guess you can easily make only half the recipe. I had to freeze this cake in halves actually! Although I used a smaller cake tin than suggested, my fanouropita roe perfectly as baked through without getting too dry.

Vizantini fanouropita

Result: Giant, tasty, moist, full of flavours and crunchy bits of nuts! You will think twice before sharing it with the entire neighbourhood 🙂 Oh those Greeks they are masters at feeding crowds with hearty and flavourful food! I don’t know how the Byzantine food would taste like but to my taste buds this cake is a perfect tangy orangy winter treat – no need to wait for the 27th of August to enjoy it!

Vizantini fanouropita

…and here’s what was going on behind the window at that moment:

Kolpino

This recipe goes to my Sweet and Country-Specific recipes, to expand my Greek collection even more.
G.
Georgian recipe · pies · sweet · vegetarian

Peach Pie and Khachapuri Revisited

Aunt Alice’s Peach Pie from www.thesisterscafe.com

A short break in between my Provence posts. A food post! Both recipes I’m going to share with you seem to be quite popular on my blog already and have lots of other variants. Greek peaches and Georgian pies – the best!

Aunt Alice’s Peach Pie from www.thesisterscafe.com

A year ago – Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies for the First Snow

Two years ago – Autumn Leaves and Karelian Pies

Three years ago – Khachapuri, I’m addicted!

Four years ago – Some Soviet Things for a Change

Aunt Alices Peach Pie adapted from www.thesisterscafe.com will make two small pies (or one big) with a runny & chewy fruit filling. Addictive-ly sweet! Check the link to get the entire recipe (which is super short).

My changes: I used no recipe for the pie shell but improvised as usual (see this for example). I used less cornstarch though would suggest using all the 4 tablespoons. Instead of fresh peaches, I found Greek canned peaches – some of them I sliced and the rest processed in the blender. Instead of almond flavoring I added cardamom.

Aunt Alice’s Peach Pie from www.thesisterscafe.com

Remarks: you will need to prebake the pie shell, so I would suggest putting some weight on the bottom of the pie (I skipped this with my second pie and, well, it all rose up and the result was not that straight :). The filling wouldn’t thicken unless I placed the pies in the fridge which seems to help with some pies.

Aunt Alice’s Peach Pie from www.thesisterscafe.com

Result: An addictive sweety-sweet pie with super soft runny peachy filling. Hats off to Aunt Alice, whoever she is!

More ways to use canned (or fresh) peaches:

And though the original recipe (and post) for that peach pie was definitely about Georgia, the peach state, here’s a connection to the other recipe I’m revisiting today… Piles of khachapuri, anyone?

Adjari Khachapuri

Three years ago in a random magazine somewhere up there in the North, in the Komi Republic (Russia) I found a recipe for a Georgian pie which I’m still using now. Recently I decided to bake the famous Adjari Khachapuri again.

Adjari Khachapuri

My khachapuri might not be authentically Adjari as those should be boat-like and have an egg in the middle, which you break closer to the end of baking. I add the eggs into the filling instead. My khachapuri also mutated to include pine nuts (why not?), spring onions and coriander (they say herbs are almost obligatory for such super-cheese pies), khmeli-suneli seasoning mix and smetana (sour cream) to make the filling softer.

Adjari Khachapuri

Khachapuri is what comes to your head first thing when you want to eat something hearty, when you have friends coming to your place, when you just want that comfort food (especially in autumn!). Khachapuri is for every occasion and I can sing songs about it just as I do for the sourdough rye bread.

Adjari Khachapuri

Khachapuri has become so very much known in USSR that we somehow consider it traditional. And although we do know very little how to make authentic Georgian pies (with the recipe varying from house to house, village to village, region to region) if you judge from what you can get in mainstream places, well, at least we do appreciate this super tasty food immensely! In particular in my family khachapuri is something like a family recipe, beating pizza no doubt.

Adjari Khachapuri

The are hundreds of recipes for these pies, I have already gathered an entire collection on my blog. The recipe for the boat-like khachapuri coming from the Adjari region is this recipe. I guess for the sake of the dough being elastic and shape-able, you’d better not choose a no-yeast no-egg recipe for these pies. The recipe is fool-proof – and who knows, probably you will dare and bake them with an egg cracked in the middle of each pie!

Adjari Khachapuri

I also baked another batch of these pies on the next day, adding some whole wheat flour to the dough and cottage cheese (5% fat tvorog), kefir, dill, spring onions and Adygea salt (salt + pepper, coriander, garlic, herbs) and khmeli-suneli to the filling. It was even more chewy and rubbery than a pie without tvorog. And as long as you can get hold of good rubbery suluguni cheese – you will succeed!

Other variants of the celebrated Georgian cheese pie khachapuri:

Enjoy!

Adding the peach pie to the sweet recipes.

G.