April 15, 2009

Midnight Craving For Pastry : Turkish Pogaca

- Turkish whole wheat pogaca, filled with Ezine cheese, coriander leaves and pinenuts... sprinkled with black cumin seeds

** Ezine cheese is a local Turkish cheese kind

Yet another day for "taking it easy".

In the first part of it I was concerned if my computer needs a repair; because last night the PC case released a burning smell. After immediately turning it off, I asked help from my boyfriend who has advanced knowledge with computers. He suggested I would take a look inside the case, maybe it's the dust. I did as I was told and wow. It never occurred to me that the PC case would have such problem due to dust! This is my first desktop computer... Well, okay. After making sure my main outlet to world worked well; I was occupied with reading during the day, remaining physically quite inactive. Just when it was late though, I felt the need to get up and be productive. I cleaned my room along to PJ Harvey's songs. There's something familiar about her that draws me close only in certain times. Satisfied with cleaning, I went online for a while. By that time it was around midnight. That very time for impossible to ease cravings - except for this time I was reasonable with my craving: Turkish pogaca. (I had all the necessary ingredients)

It's a kind of pastry Turkish people adore, just like "borek" which I mentioned in a recent post that you can jump to by clicking here. Borek is made out of phyllo sheets, pogaca on the other hand is made out of dough. This doesn't make sense... I just remember where phyllo comes from. Okay, next.

When I googled it out of curiosity as to how other people mention it in English, I noticed some odd stuff. Pogaca does not equate to biscuit. Or it doesn't necessarily mean it's filled with cheese. Pogaca is very compatible with whatever filling there is. We just seem to favor cheese over other options, that's it.

Moving onto the kitchen part.

I decided to use whole wheat flour as a change. Normally, we'd use refined white flour. Both ones work. It's just a matter of choice and I like to have options when it comes down to cooking.

I'm a fan of pogaca with potato filling but this time, I craved for the particular cheese taste. Speaking of cheese, it's another decision to make there. Since cheese is a big part of a Turkish person's appetite, it's more than likely there's some kind of cheese in every fridge there is. Usually, a few kinds all together. Or there *used* to be. In any case, no matter how bad the economy goes though... I think we'd still stick to cheese, somehow. It's just that important. It's interesting... because when people have to watch their budgets, they cut down the expenses to a maximum obviously. So, when Turkish people do this; they'll keep the breakfast food - as this course is the most important to us. However, my mind is wandering into some other people's possible lives where they don't have what I do have and thinking of it just buries me in embarrassment. Nothing new... for any of us.

Back to the pogaca ingredients...

My mom was awake as I was kneading the dough. She came to check up on me. Seeing that I pour some flour, see how that fits... maybe more this, that... she asked why I would not use the measurements ( Her measurements are very easy-going) Well, unless it's a complete new unknown dish... no measurements please. Sometimes when I'm asked for a recipe, I'm having hard time thinking of one. Just because of the exact reason.

Then again... if anyone would like to make this pastry, I *will* gather my mind and write an easy to follow recipe. Let me know, foodies...

Pogaca itself is very easy to make. Anyone will make it, I think. But the thing is, will it taste exactly as desired? Usually mine come out quite well to our liking... At first I'd make the chunks big so the outcome would still be okay to consume, but somehow in need of more filling. By time, I had a better idea of chunk sizes and filling ratio to go with those. I can please the type A personality foodie even. /giggle.

I'm just thinking... if someone asked me for the recipe later, there's a good chance I'd forget what I did tonight. Plus, some events are coming up... I plan to keep really busy. First... easy recipe:

- Dough Ingredients: 2 cups (or more?! i'll explain) Whole wheat flour, 2 eggs (1 egg goes into the bowl, 1 egg to spread on pogacas before going to oven) , pinch of salt, baking powder, 50 ml. oil or butter (melted and let cool if butter used), 1 cup plain yogurt

- Filling: Anything! This time mine had: Ezine cheese, pinenuts, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, grounded black pepper

- Ideas for possible fillings:
Boiled-peeled-mashed potato, spices. Vegetables stir fried but not cooked and spices.
Combination of veggies, cheese and spices. What else... These for now. Oh yeah, meat can go in too. Just nothing sweet. This is meant to be a salty pastry.

As for making the dough and measurements... mom would say that you need such consistent dough to feel "as soft as your earlobe". I don't know if it's known in English... Just translating directly.

  • So I pour all dough ingredients into a bowl except for the second egg.
  • Take out a table spoon or another stirring utensil and start stirring. How does the mixture feel? Intuition tells the best. I immediately knew that my dough called for more flour.
  • Instead of overloading with flour, I gradually add it to be on the safe side.
  • Eventually it comes to a point when it's okay to get fingers in flour first and begin kneading. Like this, it doesn't get much sticky & messy.

Mom helped with the filling. She took out a fork and mashed cheese. Sprinkled spices. Chopped coriander. Ready. The approximate measurement I gave with flour could make sixteen pogacas... And for each pogaca there is a need for two teaspoonful filling.

I spread some oil on the baking tray with my fingers. Pre-heat oven to 200 celcius degree.

Pulling out chunks of dough, I flatten them in the palm of my hand and put some filling. Make ends meet in a half moon shape. The rest just goes like this till the end. When all pogacas are placed on the tray, the other egg is scrambled and seperated from white. The yolk, yellow part is spreaded over pogacas and then black cumin seed is sprinkled.

As usual I have more filling than I need. Luckily it can be consumed with bread or something. No problem.

Tray goes into the oven and I start watching. It relaxes me so much to watch the bake. 15 minutes later ready, I think. Just need to watch this sign: Pogaca is ready when it's tanned nicely.

That's really it.

This pastry would make a perfect breakfast, along with tea... Actually, aside from making these at home; we have pastry houses that'll make it early in the morning so when you rush for school, or work you just have to grab one on the way. Turkish people like to take their time for breakfast, but when life gets busy... we will maybe negotiate with our time, though in no way compromise from the taste.

Some of us will even crave and make it at midnight, then sit to share it for example.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming events I plan to go...

I am in definite need of relieving the graduation pressure in a good way.

In the weekend I'll go to a concert, join a food festival to watch the Guinness record attempt for "world's biggest open buffet" which is to be prepared with 1001 different Turkish dishes (paradise!) and next week, book fair and meet up with a former classmate.

Then comes May, and I am born.


  1. I love both pogasa and borek, they are absolutely delicious.

  2. I've never had pogaca. That looks delish. It's pretty net that you can put any kind of filling in it.

  3. Oops...it's supposed to be *neat*.

  4. You have made me so hungry! First of all, these pogaca are fantastic - thank you for your recipe. I'm trying to be more relaxed about cooking and not be so worried about exact measurements so I think this recipe is a good way to practice since the ingredients are so easy.

    Second, I hope you take pictures and post about the Guinness record attempt! 1001 Turkish dishes?! I know it's nearly impossible but I would want to have a taste of each. Imagine - if I had a new dish every day, it would take me close to 3 years to try them all. 8-)

  5. Never seen that before it looks delicious. well done. :)

  6. Pogaca you say? You've opened our eyes to so many Turkish delights (pun intended) that we want to try.

  7. Wow, this looks amazing and I cannot wait to try. The seeds in your picture look more like nigella than what we call black sesame. The names often get used interchangeably even though they are two different things. I added a link - I am curious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa I found the Turkish name:çörek otu. I have got to try these treats, they look fantastic.

  8. They look positively delicious!! I like how you cook without measuring! Have fun at the buffet!!

  9. Elra, I definitely agree with you!

    Jenn, it's so delicious for how little effort you invest in the making.

    Tangled Noodle, I guess with some recipes you can't be spontaneous much... and those I'll gently avoid 8-) I hope the event will be fun! I'm hoping to take pictures, and hopefully blog about it so I can share with you.

    Ricardo, thank you!

    Chrystal, it's my pleasure. I'll try and feature more Turkish delights (good intentions intended always) as possible ;)

    LouAnn, it's "çörek otu" yes. You know with English not being my native language... I need to rely on dictionary for most words and it said çörek otu = black cumin seeds. I checked if I said black sesame but no... I remember coming across to "nigella", I'll also check the link. I appreciate your search! Somehow, black cumin seed is more common. So I was using that. How's it known there?

    If you come across it, you should get some. Enhances taste of pastries, I think. Recently I can't help myself adding it to other unrelated (for Turks anyway) dishes too :)

  10. Reeni♥, I enjoy seeing your name around with the little cute heart :) I learned the basics from mom, so that's how I'm comfortable now. For the event... I'm excited, thank you so much. See how it turns out!

  11. Hi Ozge,
    If you said black cumin before my mind substituted black sesame. Yours was the last post I read before bed =) I went to sleep with a smile on my face with tunes from PJ Harvey in my head. I happen to have some nigella in my kitchen which is probably the reason I recognized it.

    Many people, even many native speakers make that mistake. It is easy to find at Indian markets here, but often mislabeled as black sesame, or something else. So if you try to seek it out you may not get the same thing every time. It is use is not very common in mainstream bakeries, do not know why. We need to get more people using it because it is delicious. I might have to do one of my posts on special ingredients to get the word out - you're an inspiration! Would it be ok if I linked to your post?

    With regards to your English - I think it is fantastic. No way could I write a blog in another language let along pick up on all the nuances. We would not be having this exchange because you would not understand me.

  12. LouAnn, I'm so glad you take time and share with me like this in detail...

    I wish we had Indian markets in here! Luckily, I have my spice supplies enough to last me for a while (got them from where you live in summer he he)

    I'd enjoy it a lot if you did a post for special ingredients, say spices or herbs that are being overlooked. Such an interesting subject, and I'd feel honored with a backlink.

    Oh, thank you very much for your compliment. I love English and I'm so happy to be able to communicate with you, through it!

  13. That pastry looks delicious...would be great with a cup of tea...

  14. Ozge,
    Wow, just by looking the pic itself I can tell you this must be DELISH .. I always learn new turkish ingredients from you dear..Thanks for that.

  15. Hey thanks for the article. I used it and I sent it to a friend of mine. You should look at posting it on Wacanai.com(http://www.wacanai.com/intro). You can put your articles there, do searches, and it links it to other similar articles. You can link it to your page and it has graphs to show you how many people are reading your stuff and if they are finding it useful.

  16. Just a small note, Coriander is a no go for most Turks. It is %99.9 of the time flat leave parsley that is accompanied to cheese or other fillings.

    Actually I know many friends living outside Turkey who accidentally bought coriander instead of parsley and could not eat it at all. It is rarely used in Turkish cuisine, if any at all. But experimentation is fine, and your pogaca looks good.


You could feedmeback! I still appreciate it even if it's too spicy. Spice is good.

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