Cook the Book | 'Istanbul and Beyond' + Baba Ganouj & Fingerprint Flatbread (Tirnak Pidesi)
What types of food do you crave? If I had to name on of my favorites, it would be Middle Eastern food—piping hot pitas, tabouleh, hummus, bulgar—so healthy, yet so satisfying. We love reading cookbooks and Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey by Robyn Eckhardt, is a newly released transportive book that takes you through the back roads of Turkey from the snowcovered mountains of Anatolia to the alfalafa flower covered fields in the Van province. Author Robyn Eckhardt and her husband, David Hagerman, the photographer, partnered together to bring you the best of the diverse cuisine that the country has to offer, not to mention recipes that you will want to cook year-round. In the newest installment of ‘Cook the Book’, we tried her recipe for Baba Ganouj and Fingerprint Flatbread. Even though the latter meant a little more time in the kitchen, the results were homemade bread and there is nothing like that comforting smell on say a weekend when the temperatures begin to drop.
Fingerprint Bread (Tirnak Pidesi)
For the Dough
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 packet instant yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For the Wash
1/4 cup bread flour
1 cup boiling water
1 egg, beaten
Special Equipment: Pizza Peel and Pizza Stone
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone into oven. Using a standing mixer fitted with a bowl and dough hook, add warm water and sprinkle yeast over it. Let stand for at least five minutes until foamy. On low speed, start adding flour, followed by salt and mix for at least 8 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Generously oil a bowl and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. Allow to rise for at least 2 hours.
Once risen, generously flour a pizza peel with flour. Divide dough into two parts and form into a oval, let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile make egg wash. Add flour and water to a small bowl, stir to combine. Stream beaten egg once the water flour has completely cooled. Once rested, press dough into a rectangle (about 6 to 7 inches) and about 1 inch thick. Dipping hands into wash, score the edges of the bread, leaving a 1/2 inch order. Repeat by dipping hands into wash and make three additional scores across the bread using the fingers. Be sure to indent the dough deep enough (otherwise they will disappear while baking) but not too deep to break it. Repeat by adding scores in a cross hatch pattern. Repeat with second section of dough, add more flour to the peel if needed to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Carefully transfer to pizza stone. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly before enjoying.
Tahini Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganouj)
2 1/2 pounds eggplant
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 ground chilis (you can omit this if you prefer no spice)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prick eggplants all over with a fork and place onto pan. Roast for 45 minutes or until completely soft. Let cool before handling. Carefully cut eggplants in half, scoop out flesh and put into a bowl. Once garlic has been minced, sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Run the knife over the garlic until it turns into a paste. Add to eggplant. In a separate bowl, add the tahini and whisk to ensure there aren’t any clumps and whisk in lemon juice. Add to eggplant and incorporate cumin and chilis if using. Stir to combine. Drizzle with olive oil before enjoying.
Serving Ideas: Use as a dip for vegetables; incorporate into a mezze platter or serve with homemade pita or fingerprint bread.
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Photography & Styling by Alison Engstrom