Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pide - like pizza! Only Turkish!

I don't have any discernible special talent. I will never find cure for AIDS. The Eurovision song contest victory will elude me. And with my temper I wouldn't get my hopes up on Nobel peace prize either.

When it comes to sourcing local food, however, I do ok. Within a couple of hours from arriving in Pamukkale I had already located the best place for lahmacun. And in Istanbul I know just where to go for the best pides (Firuzaga). 

Yep- that's Anatolian kilim alright!

Since I'm a huge fan of Middle Eastern flavours, the Turkish food found a new fan in me. The humble pide is one of my favourites. It's very much like pizza, but often don't come with cheese. Instead an egg is broken on top before baking, to guarantee juiciness. Instead of tomato sauce a paste made from sun-dried peppers is often used, I learnt.

But if you want, feel free to use any pizza sauce you want. I pureed some piquillo peppers, but you can just as well roast your own and puree them - or use any store-bought roasted pepper variety. For instruction on roasting peppers, please see here.  You need about 2 dl of the sauce. Be generous with salt and pepper (and , should you want, with cumin, coriander seeds and/or smoked paprika) - especially if the sausages you're using are not very spicy.

I want my pide with sujuk, a spicy turkish sausage. North African lamb merguez would be even better. These I made with Spanish longaniza - any spicy sausage will go.

For the base you can use your favourite pizza recipe. In the need of one I came up with this, which actually matched the chewyness of pides I've had and loved pretty darn well. A dry yeast would, without a doubt, be a more convenient solution but every time I've tried befriending Spanish dry yeast something seems to go wrong.

Makes 2 (or 4 small ones)


12.5 gr yeast
1.25 dl water
1 tsp sugar
4.5 - 5dl flour (I used 2 dl of whole meal and 2.5 dl all purpose)
1 tbsp oil


2 dl roasted pepper paste
4 sausages of your choice (mine were appr. 12 cm x 2 cm)
1/2 onion
handful of shopped green cubanelle peppers
2 eggs (or 4, if making four pides)
1 tomato, sliced thinly

For brushing:

1. 1/2 dl Turkish yoghurt + 1/2 dl water
2. oil

Mix sugar and yeast with lukewarm water. Let it erst for about 15 minutes. Then add half the flour and salt. Mix until smooth and add the remaining flour until the dough is elastic and won't cling to hands. Knead to a smooth dough and leave to rise in a bowl you've lined with oil until it's doubled in size (appr. 1 hour).

Heat the oven 250°. If using a pizza stone, put it in the oven now. I didn't have one, so I left the tray in the oven.

Divide the dough in 2 (or 4) and keep the remaining portions covered as you're working one. Only get started with the next one when the previous one's in the oven. Knead the dough to get rid of the air and roll in¨t very thinly to an oval shape of  20 cm x 30 cm (if making 2). Spread the pepper paste onto the base, then add the tomatos, then the onions and peppers and finally the sausages. I squeezed mine out of the casing in little thumb-size nuggets, but you can just as well slice them or use any spicy charcuterie- what ever you want.

Turn the edges on top of the toppings and twist the oval ends a couple of times to give pide its boat-like shape. Then transfer to the hot tray you've taken out of the oven.

Brush the edges with the yoghurt-water-mixture and break an egg in the middle of the boat.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the egg has set a bit and the edges have a nice, golden colour. Brush the edges with olive oil when it comes from the oven and enjoy. Turkish rug optional.

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