Last week, I came across Expedia’s World on a Plate Challenge. It sounded interesting. Every month they feature a different country and bloggers participate by cooking a dish from that country. For the month of April, the country they are promoting is Turkey, so I decided to feature Turkish Pide.
However over the years, I’ve had numerous baking successes including lemon meringue pie, fudge and even doughnuts. My immediate thought was that to shift from baking sweet goods to cooking savoury food can’t be that hard, and I found a recipe for Turkish pide on Ozlem’s Turkish Table.
Making Turkish Pide
The recipe for the pide dough seemed quite simple. A combination of flour, salt, water, olive oil and yeast (Maya). Now before you scoff at me attempting to make something with yeast, I have used it before and had great success so didn’t think it would be a problem. Six packets later and the yeast finally frothed up but my mood was already dampened.
This was straight forward because it was simply finely diced onions and peppers to be sautéed. I used red onion because the supermarkets quality of white onions would make a health inspector in the UK shut the shop down!
After softening the onion, and peppers, I added diced and de-seeded tomatoes as required and then a teaspoon of lemon juice, before mixing the ingredients with mince beef. (Lamb is a typical choice)
I was quite surprised at the addition of lemon juice but apparently it helps to break down the consistency of the meat. This was evident because the mince had turned a pinky colour
The rest was easy. I rolled the dough out into the traditional paddle shape. Folded the sides over and pinched the ends.
As soon as I took the Turkish pide out of the oven, I knew there was no way; it would be better than my local take-away. The meat had shrunk away from the sides, lost its soft taste and the dough just didn’t taste right. Bland and gooey in the middle.
I ate it reluctantly and then sulked off to the nearest bar to drown my sorrows, where the reason for my failure become apparent. While I was blaming the yeast, the bar owner mentioned that generally Turks do not cook Pide at home in the oven.
He meant the pizza ovens where they slide in the food on wooden boards. Apparently, most Turks only prepare the filling at home, then take it to the Pide shop, who will put it on the dough and bake it for 1.50 lira a slice. I learned something new and while I did feel I had wasted my time, it comforted me to know that I had just set my sights too high.