Turkish Pide – an attempt to recreate a restaurant recipe

My favorite restaurant in DC is a Middle Eastern mezze place called Zaytinya, and they have this sort of pizza thing called a pide. Apparently its a Turkish in origin. So naturally, when I was casting about for something to cook, this came to mind. I did an internet search, but nothing really struck me as a good recipe to try, and they all had too much dill in them. I hate dill. So I went on the restaurant’s website and found the description: Turkish tomato sauce with cinnamon and oregano, covered in halloumi cheese. That’s enough to qualify as a recipe, right? Absolutely!

kinda squogy looking but still yummy

kinda squogy looking but still yummy

Dough:
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 package yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4-1 cup flour

Take the warm water (warm mind you, cool and the yeast won’t multiple, hot and the yeast die) and add the sugar and yeast. Mix and let sit until its all bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the olive oil, and then about 3/4 cup of flour. Mix in the flour, and keep adding more, a little at a time, until you have a soft, non-sticky dough to form. Make sure to knead the dough, so that is reasonably elastic. Then let it sit in a warm spot to rise, for about an hour.

Topping:
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches dried oregano
4-6 kalamata olives, cut in half
strong sheep cheese, grated

So I was not about to make my own tomato sauce from scratch. That is far more work than this project was worth. So instead, I took my normal garlic tomato sauce, and added the cinnamon and dried oregano, and mixed it all together. Then I took 4 kalamata olives and chopped them in half, and grated some strong Greek sheep cheese I found at Whole Foods (I couldn’t find halloumi).

Assembly: Take about 1/2 the dough, and roll it out into the shape of an oval. Place the rolled-out dough on a baking sheet/tray. Spoon as much of the sauce as you want on the dough. Place the cheese and olives on top if the sauce, then fold over the edges of the dough, so the whole thing looks more like a canoe. Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the cheese is all bubbly.

Result: so yummy. Completely delicious. Also completely simple since you don’t need to make the sauce from scratch. The cinnamon makes all the difference. It isn’t overpowering at all, but it is aromatic and definitely there. It’s so little extra work compared to normal pizza and so yummy and different. And it doesn’t require any odd ingredients except the cheese (and worse case scenario you could just use feta). Serve this dish with wine, I used a Greek white that I fell in love with. I also served it with Carrottes d’Afrique du Nord, which are amazingly amazing and can be found in the works of Mollie Katzen. Song of the week: Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N’ Roses. I had a very crappy day this week, and listened to this song on repeat for about 2 hours. Seriously, it can be that cathartic.

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