Lebanon is made up of many cultures and the Armenian community is particularly interesting, rich in history and traditions; yet known only superficially by most people here who have lived for generations side by side with Armenian-Lebanese.
This is one of my first attempts at the wide wide world of Armenian pastry; the dough is similar to a brioche, rich in eggs and dairy; the filling is made up of cheeses, onion and herbs; can be varied ad infinitum.
This quantity will make enough dough for 2 large pies, each feeding 8 people.
- 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast, diluted in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 3/4 cup of melted butter (or a mixture of butter and corn oil)
- First, proof the yeast in a small cup mixing sugar and water and waiting a few minutes for the bubbles.
- In a large bowl, place the flour and salt and mix well; add the eggs, butter and milk and proofed yeast and mix well until the dough is compact and shiny; add more flour if necessary, a little at a time. Cover with a towel for two hours.
- Roll out one quarter of the dough until the thickness is about 1/8 of an inch; using the rolling pin to carry it, place it ina greased round pan (preferably with a removable bottom), about 10 inches wide.
- Mix the cheeses and eggs and onion and parsley and spices; place the filling over the dough.
- Preheat the oven and roll out the other quarter of the dough; place over the cheese filling and seal the pie; brush it with an egg; bake in a 375F (190C) oven till the pie is golden and crisped all over; eat right away or reheat later or the next day.
- 1 pound of swiss cheese, grated (or other hard, nutty cheese)
- 1 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated
- 2 large eggs, mixed with a fork
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- 1 large onion, chopped very fine preferably
- 1 tablespoon of hot red pepper or paprika
Mix all these ingredients in a bowl; place on the dough, spreading them evenly.
Recipe adapted from La Cuisine Arménienne Végétarienne de Mireille Donaghian
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