Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Pekazza's fully baked
Pekazza’s! My latest culinary invention/adventure

I’m not sure if this happens to other folks but every-so-often I just get tired of eating the usual stuff we make. It’s not like there’s a small repertoire cooking-wise, but sometimes I just grow tired of what we have and we tend to opt for take out when we get into that situation. But last weekend I decided to stop by Yasmeen’s Bakery on Alta Vista only to find it’s closed. I then figured I’d try to do something myself and headed to Loblaws. The cashier was a young Muslim woman who commented on my purchase saying that I must be baking this weekend. I admitted that I was but only because the Lebanese bakery I wanted to buy various baked goods from had closed. She said, “Yasmeen’s?” I said yeah, and she said her family was disappointed it had closed and it hadn’t re-opened. Bummer.

I told her I was going to try to replicate the pastries as best I could and she wished me luck, though she said she wouldn’t have been able to eat my version if it contains pork. Understandable. But pork is my favourite meat, I said, and I much prefer pork to lamb. Anyway, she’s always sweet, friendly and very efficient. And she did let me know that the bakery was well and truly gone :-(. Sigh.

So, there I was with my ground beef, pork sausages, flour and even ingredients for baklava — which I planned on making but as yet haven’t. Problem was, no recipe. So off to the internet to hunt for recipes and I found some but none were to my liking. So me being me, I decided to not follow the recipes. Instead, my version is below. It’s in 3 pieces and takes a few hours, but it’s well worth it according to everyone that’s tried it. But it had no name so I had to come up with one. So, I opted for a combination of “baked” and “pizza” where the word for “baked” is a bastardization of the Croatian word for baking — pekati. I thought that would be appropriate since this is effectively my bastardization of a calzone, meat sauces I typically make and those Lebanese Lahm b’ajeem I loved from Yasmeen’s.

First, my standard tomato sauce recipe. You can use any tomatoes you want for this. I find a good mix of heirloom works best. If you can’t find heirloom use regular tomatoes but toss in some yellow and orange ones. They tend to boost the natural sweetness. Worst case, opt for good quality canned tomatoes with no added spices.

Tomato Sauce

  • 6 tbsp olive oli
  • 4 medium onions chopped coarsely
  • 4 kg tomatoes, chopped coarsely (1 – 2 in pieces)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil

In a large pot set over medium-high heat cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, pepper, salt, oregano and basil. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling. Then, reduce to medium-low, cover and cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally.

When done, remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, run through a food mill.

I freeze this recipe and use it as my go-to tomato sauce recipe for pizza sauces, pasta sauces and, as you’ll see below, even for my latest concoction :-).

Now, onto the filling and the star of this post.

Filling

  • Home-made Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil or bacon fat
  • 1kg lean ground beef
  • 1kg Schneider’s Country Natural sausages, casings removed (10 total, I use Tuscan or Sicilian)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 medium onions, chopped into 5mm cubes
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Put the olive oil or bacon fat into a large pot set over medium-high heat.

When hot, add sausages and brown. Once browned, break up and continue cooking until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

In the same pot add the ground beef, cumin, pepper, salt, tomato paste, onion powder and garlic powder. Brown meat and remove when done. You may require an extra tablespoon or two of fat in case the sausages didn’t render enough fat; they usually do.

De-glaze the pot with a few tbsp of water. Once deglazed, add the onions, oregano and herbes de Provence. When the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, add the garlic. Cook for another minute or two and add the meat back into the pot. Stir until combined.

Add 4 cups of the tomato sauce and cook for about 10 minutes. When the sauce has been sufficiently reduced so the meat no longer looks like a pasta sauce but more like wet ground meat, turn off the cooktop and set aside.

While the filling is cooling, make the dough.

Dough

  • 1000g white flour
  • 12g instant yeast
  • 18g salt
  • 30g sugar
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 600g water

Place all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, keeping putting the salt and sugar on one side and the yeast on the other.

Pour all the olive oil and water into the bowl.

Place the bowl into the mixer and knead for 6 – 8 minutes until it forms a proper dough ball which should be soft and just a bit sticky to the touch.

Remove from bowl and on a well floured surface fold onto itself 8 – 10 times and then form into a ball. Place into a dry bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 – 1.5 hours until doubled.

Once the dough has doubled it’s time to form the dough and fill it and bake it.

Set your oven to 375F convect (400F regular).

Pekazza’s fully baked

Divide up your dough into 16 100g pieces, forming each into a small boule. Ensure you keep them covered in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.

One a well floured surface, roll out each small boule into a circle about 8″/20cm in diameter.

Place a 6 tablespoons of filling onto one half of the dough circle and fold the other half over top and closing the edge by creating a rope-edge effect (see photo).

Place on a parchment lined jelly-roll pan (in case the liquid leaks out due to a less-than-perfect edge) and do the next. You should be able to place 6 – 8 per large pan, meaning you’ll only needing 2 pans to do all 16.

Once completed, slash each once or twice so as to allow steam to escape.

Place in oven and bake 20 minutes, turning midpoint.

They can be enjoyed immediately.

If you wish, you can let them cool and freeze them. They nuke very very well — 2 minutes per. If you refrigerate, eat them within a few days and you can nuke them for 1 minute.

Note, you can also make open faced versions as seen below as well as pizza. The dough, in my opinion, is one of the best pizza doughs I’ve ever made. And it stretches wonderfully! You can even make samosa-like versions!

Open faced Pekazza and Samosa-like Pekazza

Enjoy!

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September 2012
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