Not sure how to describe pogaca… little cheese filled biscuits? or cheesy turnovers? cheese breads?
However I would describe it, it does not change the fact that once you bite into these little cheesy things, the buttery crust melts in your mouth. The combination of parsley and feta cheese leaves slightly salty, refreshing taste on the tongue, and is balanced with the crust. The key is to get a good feta cheese that is creamy, made from whole milk, not overly salty and that wraps the parsley well when blended together.
I had mentioned the get-togethers that the Turkish ladies have when I posted a borek recipe!. Pogaca takes its crowned place in these get togethers as well… Why? Because it is easy… because everyone has some type of filling in the fridge, waiting to take its place in the dough: feta cheese, cooked ground beef, mashed potatoes, olives… Because that is what we do… we get together, talk, drink tea and eat fattening things! And after we gain weight due to the high fat content of the goodies, we laugh, mention the old saying about how “the woman with hips and the dish with paste (tomato/pepper that is) are worthier” to justify all that!
I have many different pogaca recipes but this has become my favorite one. This recipe comes from my Great Aunt Ruziye who has been my grandma’s dear friend and good neighbor for over 40 years! She can whip up anything in a short notice! Not only her pogaca, but her rice pudding, borek and various recipes have made to the top ten list of everyone in my family. She is actually family… after standing by each other all those years, she and my grandma are practically sisters!
This recipe makes 35-40 pogacas. I would not recommend to halve the recipe if you have a big family because it goes quick. We eat this as an afternoon snack or it makes an easy breakfast to take on the road. Or just sit down and savor it with a cup of tea.
Don’t make me talk anymore about it! We just finished these and now I want more! Just make and eat it! Then let me know how you like it! Remember … the woman with hips…is much worthier in some cultures!
Aunt Ruziye’s Pogaca
- ~2.2 lbs sifted unbleached all purpose flour(equates to 1 kg, you can set aside 1 cup of it and add that cup gradually after you mix all ingredients until the dough comes together, not sticky and not too stiff)
- 2 sticks and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (about 250 gr – very soft, at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- For the brushing on top: Whisk one egg yolk with one tablespoon of yogurt and a pinch of salt very well.
- Nigella and/or sesame seeds
- Filling: 3 cups of crumbled/mashed feta cheese and 1 cup of finely chopped parsley
- Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl.
- Add all the others and knead until the dough comes together. If the dough is sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add small amounts of flour.
- Make 35 to 40 balls (size bigger than golf ball but not as big as tennis ball). Set aside, cover with a clean towel. Let it rest 15 minutes.
- Pat each ball into a 3-inch diameter circle, put two teaspoon of filling on one half of the circle, leaving some room on the edge to close it. Close the other half over the filling, pinch the sides to close.
- Line them on a baking tray, brush the egg yolk-yogurt mixture on all of them and top with the seeds.
- Bake at 395 degree (not preheated oven) for 35-40 minutes or until it is golden brown.