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.
The smell of butter inside a warm and cosy bakery in the middle of winter.. It reminds me so much of my childhood. When I was a kid, I didn’t like having breakfast at home before the school. So my mother would buy me one “pogaca”, a kind of flaky pastry that is similar brioche and I would eat that as breakfast, accompanied by that lovely butter smell all around me. Later on when I was a teenager, during high school years, we would go to the bakery behind the school building every morning with my friends sharing the same school bus. The bus would leave us outside the building, so we would first go to the bakery and eat a pogaca fresh out of the oven and then go inside the building..
The first and only time I ate poppy paste buns was when my sister-in-law’s mother Nafize baked them for us. I’ve loved them ever since and I’ve craved for them all this time in Helsinki – until one day, just by chance, I found poppy paste in Alanya Oriental Market in Itäkeskus in Helsinki!!!
When I was a kid, whenever I wanted, my mother would make this pastry for me. “Puf Böreği!” I’d say and she would not make me say twice. We call this pastry (börek) “puf” because it puffs like a little balloon when it is fried!
I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know what a börek was. It has always been a natural part of my life, because it is the most common thing in Turkish cuisine. There are many, and I mean many, variations, with different kinds of fillings (cheese, potato, meat..), different kinds of making (fried, baked..), different kinds of dough (filo, puff..), but in the end, all of them are called, “börek”.
I came back from Turkey in such a weird, panicky way after all the coup attempt and whatnot, that the only thing I could bring with me happened to be a mezze cookbook that I bought at Istanbul Airport. This spinach pastry is inspired by a recipe from that book. The main difference: I didn’t put the freaking dill in my version!!
Rustic fig tart.. Rustic fig tart.. Rustic – fig – tart.. If I repeat this more, maybe, just maybe, I can say it properly. Because for some reason I am unable to get my tongue around these words together, and I end up saying “rustic pig fart”. Not very appealing name for such a lovely, delicious tart, n’est-ce pas? Well anyway, here is a very easy and equally delicious tart recipe for you.
A few weeks ago, I was going through recommended photos on Instagram, and I saw these cuties: pretzel rolls. Until then, I only knew the existence of the regular pretzel sticks, and I even gave the recipe for that on this blog (check the recipe dated July 10, 2014). But these were round, puffy and absolutely beautiful. So I started looking for the recipe and found one on the website “Aashpazi”. And I immediately made them!
I know that I said in my previous post that I will focus more on Christmas recipes for now. But this is one recipe that I have been planning to add to the blog for a very long time! Besides, I know that a cinnamon roll is something to eat all year round, but it also perfectly fits Christmas spirit because of cinnamon! (This is my understanding of Christmas, which is still quite new for me, so forgive me if I’m wrong!)