Savoury pastry with cheese and parsley – Peynirli Pogaca
Pogaca is a popular savoury pastry throughout the Balkans as well as in Turkey. They are traditionally an oval shaped pastry with fillings and popular for breakfast or as a snack with tea back home. Local bakeries and street stalls sell freshly baked pogacas with a variety of fillings using white cheese, olives or potatoes; we Turks love them. With a glass of cay, tea by the side, they make a delicious and affordable breakfast or teatime treat.
Makes 11 pogacas
For the dough:
7g/1 sachet dried yeast
425g/15oz all-purpose plain flour
5ml/1 teaspoon salt
90ml/3fl oz plain (whole milk) yoghurt
1 egg, beaten
120ml/4fl oz mild olive oil or sunflower oil
120ml/4fl oz warm milk
For the filling:
170g/6oz Turkish white cheese, beyaz peynir or feta cheese, crumbled
15g/0.4oz flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the topping:
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds and nigella seeds to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4
Combine the warm milk and dried yeast in a small bowl and mix well. Let it stand for 5 minutes so that it gets foamy.
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. Stir in the foamy yeast mixture and knead well with your hands for a few minutes, until you have a smooth dough. Shape the dough like a ball, place in the large bowl and cover with cling film/plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare your filling. In a medium size bowl, stir in the crumbled Turkish white cheese or feta cheese and chopped parsley. Combine well.
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 press to flatten into a round flat circle with your fingertips, about 10cm/4in 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 dough circle, 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 by pressing with your fingertips. Place the stuffed dough on the greased tray and repeat this procedure with the rest of the dough pieces.
Place all the prepared pogacas 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 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 on the middle rack for about 25–30 minutes, until they are golden brown on top.
Serve warm; a glass of cay, Turkish tea goes really well with these delicious pogacas.
Source: Ozlem’s Turkish Table