Pogacas- Turkish Savory Pastry
Poğaças pronounced pwa-cha are savory Turkish pastries made with feta and blue cheese. They are a close cousin to the Middle Eastern cheese fatayer, or the Greek tiropita. The dough is similar in consistency to that of a biscuit dough. It uses no eggs, and has a nice elasticity that makes it incredibly easy to work with. There is no sticky factor to this dough at all!!
Poğaças are served as mezze, the Turkish or Middle Eastern equivalent to the Spanish tapas, that have grown in popularity over the last few years. I first came in contact Poğaças at a department Christmas party. One of the guys in my department, Doug,a real foodie brought them. I was extremely taken with the flavor and of course had to ask for the recipe which he was willing to share. This particular recipe came from one of the visiting Fullbright students-Bengu- who was teaching Turkish at the University where I work a number of years ago. I have adapted this recipe slightly. I have omitted the blue cheese since my family has issues with blue cheese, sigh!
Traditionally nigella seeds are sprinkled on top of the poğaças. They have a bit of a peppery taste and therefore impart an interesting flavor on the food. They are also known as black caraway, black cumin or black sesame. They are believed to have extensive health benefits. However if you cannot find these seeds, in your local market, you can use poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds (like I did) or even chia seeds (no, not the chia pet kind!) Chia seeds are sold in the health food section of most grocery stores and are also said to have some great health benefits (Omega 3), but that is the subject of another post.
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