Making breakfast pastries, Istanbul style

On a couple of recent business trips to Istanbul I’ve been fortunate to stay in a residence where an amazing breakfast spread was prepared from the small kitchen each day.

breakfast

Cheeses, fruit, meat all laid out – plus some baked tasty, freshly-made that morning pastries of a different style every day but usually involving egg or cheese. The city that truly never sleeps has a great tradition of morning baked goods with shops and cafes selling filled pastries opening early in the day.

As the rest of the household slept, I ventured in to see what was cooking one morning and got this instruction on making the delicious hot cheese and dill pastries while sipping chai and being invited to take these pictures.

It starts with spreading out the large sheets of very thin floured pastry which is sold fresh.
pastry

Next comes the filling, but first each of the large sheets are cut into four squares. As far as I know, the exact ingredients aren’t easily available in the UK (or maybe they are in large cities with a Turkish population) but I think it would be possible to create something very similar using filo pastry and a 50/50 mix of mozerella cheese (in place of the stringy Turkish version) and a slightly sharper, harder cheese such as feta. It takes about half a cup of each plus a generous handful of dill only in the centre of the squares.
filling

Finally, each quarter is folded over itself before being brushed by bean egg and sprinkled with seseme seeds. It’s te little touches of seseme seeds or poppy seeds that really add to the pastry’s flavours. They are then cooked in a medium oven for about 10mins until golden on the top and gooey within. Serves hot. What could be a better start to a busy day!
turkishseseme

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