Turkish gozleme with an Italian twist

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When I finished with the previous post, I was pretty sure I knew what the next one would be about: pizza. These days I am completely in the mood for as much color on the plate as possible. I have planned out everything in my head but then I remembered - I don't really like pizza, and neither does M. (and that's about the only thing we agree on when it comes to food). Oddly enough, his favorite cuisine is Italian, but what he really dislikes about pizza is ketchup. 

I was back to square one, so I kept on researching and bumped into this gozleme recipe I discovered ages ago. That's it, I thought. I'll play around, and make the best out of the pizza ingredients I already bought.

The scientist in me likes to make a bit of an experiment out of (nearly) every meal, so I thought to put to the test this tomato sauce recipe I saw on the television the other night. Why not make something we do every day anyway just a bit more fun?

The final product was a real hit. Gozlemes are crispy on the outside and warm and aromatic on the inside. The filling combination I used worked really well for our taste, but you can use anything you have lying around - ricotta, peppers, eggplant, chicken breast if you prefer the meat version - the possibilities are many.

What really made the difference was the tomato sauce + Italian spice mix.

It is also great that I did not need to use any added salt (there is some sea salt in the Italian spice mix - the same one should be easy to find for most of you in nearly every supermarket).


Ingredients (makes 8)

3 cups plain flour
2 tsp salt
7 g dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm (not hot!) water

1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, warm up the water and add to it yeast and sugar. Stir to combine and let sit for 8-10 minutes until bubbly. Make a well in the flour mixture with your hands and add the yeast mixture. Form a mixture into dough - you can knead but I prefer to do all this in a mixer bowl using dough hooks (that way I have more free time on my hands). If using a stand mixer, once dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl take it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for a few moments to shape it into an elastic and smooth ball.
2. Divide dough into eight equal balls (divide it in half, then divide each half in halves, and then divide each ball one more time in two halves - that way you get even pieces). Line a tray with non-stick paper, and place the dough balls on it. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for around 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Prepare the ingredients for the filling while the dough rises.
4. Roll out a dough portion to approx. 25 by 20 cm rectangle, similar to this image. Spread the filling on one half, leaving free around 5 cm of dough on three of the sides (you are putting the filling on one half only; the other one will fold over to close the dough pocket, which is why there is no filling on it).
5. Fold over to enclose filling, pressing edges to seal tightly. First fold over the shorter sides and then cover with the longest side. Make sure the ends are pressed tightly so no filling can escape. You are going for the rectangular shape.
6. Heat a large non-stick grill pan over medium heat. When ready, brush olive oil on one side of the gozleme and turn it out on the grill pan (no need to oil the grill pan). Immediately brush the other side as well, cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until golden brown, and turn. Repeat this with each gozleme. Put the finished ones in the oven to keep them warm until all are ready.



Tomato sauce (see the recipe below, you can also use ketchup if you prefer)
Chopped spinach leaves
Button mushrooms (cleaned, sliced and baked in the oven for around 15 minutes with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil)
Grated mozzarella
Italian spice mix
Olive oil

Layer the filling components one over the other in the order above.

Tomato sauce


10-12 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp aceto balsamico
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp brown sugar
Italian spice mix

Wash and halve the tomatoes. Add aceto balsamico, tomato paste, basil and brown sugar, and combine. Process everything together in a food processor or in a blender until it resembles a reddish-orange liquid. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, and add about 1/8 - 1/4 tsp of the spices (or chopped basil, if available). Cook everything in a saucepan for 5-10 minutes or until the water has reduced. Strain the mixture to remove excess water, and set aside.

I am very satisfied with how this recipe turned out and I will be making gozlemes for my guests pretty soon. Buon appetito and afiyet olsun!

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