Results tagged “filo”

Baklava

greece, turkey
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The best baklava in Turkey comes from the southeast, notably the town of Gaziantep, which is surrounded by pistachio groves and known for its master baklava makers.  Traditionally it would be made with yufka, which is a super-fine dough rather like filo, and baked in a round dish called a tepsi in a wood-fired oven.  There are all kinds of different baklava shapes - layered, rolled, twisted and coiled - and it can of course be made with different nuts - walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts being most common.  For added flavour use honey instead of some or all of the sugar.

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Where the warka women work

morocco
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Smbarnabywarka0001.jpgEver since he got to Morocco, Barnaby has been searching for warka.  He'd already learnt about yufka in Turkey and filo in Greece.  So he was excited to hear that in Morocco they also love incredibly thin pastry - but have a totally different way of making it!

But could he find it?  It kept turning up in food like the famous pastilla pie, and the little briwat pastries he saw all over the place.  But nobody seemed to sell it on its own, let alone actually make it themselves - so where did it come from?

Well, today he found out.  Hidden away in their homes down little alleyways in medinas all over the country, there are women like Khadija, sitting at big round hotplates, making warka to sell to restaurants and patisseries.

But rather than rolling the dough out like their Turkish cousins, they take handfuls of sloppy, sticky dough and smear it directly onto the hot metal.  Ouch! thought Barnaby - especially when he tried it himself.  It's not easy, particularly if your hands are furry.  Best leave it to the warka women ...

Spinach and cheese pie

greece, turkey
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We found ıspanaklı ve peynirli börek to be as common in Turkey as spanakotyropita is in Greece, and made a point of sampling as many as humanly possible, purely in the name of research of course.  They are essentially the same dish - a savoury pie made of multiple layers of ultra-thin pastry with a spinach and cheese filling.  Sometimes it’s just spinach, or just cheese, but I like it with both. 

Smborek0001.jpgThey come in various shapes and sizes, depending on which country, region, town, village, bakery or home you’re in, and with different fillings.  The form here is nice and simple and works with the packets of filo dough we can find in shops in the UK.  I have made the filling purposefully generous in quantity and moist in consistency as I don’t like my börek dry.  The recipe is loosely based on two very different versions I had the opportunity to make with chefs in Turkey and Greece - Engin Akin in Istanbul and Dimitris Mantsios in Naoussa.
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