Autumn is full on with cool weather, falling yellow leaves, a bit of rain and a bit of sunny days altogether and days getting shorter. And so I continue flirting with pumpkin and in this post, our relationship is all about being a nice and delicious pie with a friend a bit unusual to tag along in pies: phyllo!
I love eggplant so much that I could perhaps even eat it raw (though, it may be an exaggerated move!). I also love anything with phyllo. Therefore, naturally, the combination in this börek satisfied me a lot!
When I was a kid, my mother used to make a “börek” (general name for many salty pastries in Turkish) with phyllo dough called “muska” (amulet in English). These were little triangles with cheese filling, fried in vegetable oil. I always hated the name because it came from the religious nonsense. But the pastries, they were gooooood!
I love phyllo dough. Whatever you make with it comes out delicious (ok, yes, most of the time, depending on you too..). It is a very commonly used ingredient in Turkish cuisine and I grew up with all sorts of fillings and types of phyllo dough. This one has meat – not my favourite ingredient as I am not much of a fan of meat, but it reminds me of home so I like this little pastry. About 3 years ago, I posted a Turkish dish with many memories: manti, aka dumplings. This recipe is one other version of it, some call it “high society dumplings” and I absolutely have no idea why they call it that. There are several differences between this pastry and the other, more traditional dumplings: this one is made with phyllo dough while the other one has different dough, this one is baked and the filling is greasier and spicier. Also, these are individual, big pastries and one pastry can fill a person quite good. …
I lost my older uncle Sulhi when I was 12 years old. I loved him dearly. I can barely remember him now though, it’s been 26 years since he passed away. He loved me too. We used to visit him on Sundays and stay for dinner (or was it lunch? maybe sometimes..). He and my younger uncle Lemi would sit at two heads of the table. I would always sit closest to uncle Sulhi. I remember being slightly frightened by him too, to be honest. Probably because he was the oldest person in the family and he had an authority. Also, at that time respect meant a bit of fear..
I have been planning to make these buns for almost 3 months. I made poppy paste buns before with this shape (recipe is here) and I loved it (this is generally Swedish cardamom bun’s shape). So I wanted to try something different this time, using the same shape.
My relationship with pumpkin is getting serious, ahem. Well, after baking cakes and cookies with pumpkin puree, I started to wonder how it would taste and look in a dough. This curiosity ended up with cinnamon and pecan rolls. But I’d like to talk more about the sauce now, more specifically, the brown cheese in the sauce.
Finnish cuisine is full of different kinds of delicious “pulla”s. These are basically buttery buns with cardamom, which is the most Nordic ingredient ever. Some also have cinnamon, some have more butter than the others, some have extra sugar on top, some have cream in between… Their common characteristic is that they are all extremely delicious and they all look very elegant.
When I was a kid, I used to think that some dishes could only be made by certain family members. For example, there was a black tea cake that I believed only my mother could bake. Turkish dumplings, I thought only my mother and aunt could make so delicious. And then there was this pastry which I believed could only be baked by my aunt, my father’s sister, as if there was something magical or that the trick was in her oven or something. Turns out, I was wrong. You just need to learn.
As I am writing this blogpost, I am eating one of these soft, puffy, melting-in-the-mouth buns and remembering my childhood. Most of my best memories back in Turkey involve food or are around food, and these buns bring out some of them.