Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Butternut Squash Gözleme & Fennel Dipping Sauce

An Australian G+ friend recently mentioned gözleme in his stream and having never encountered this less puffy and more conveniently prepared, Middle Eastern version of calzone, I was intrigued. This filled, grilled, and yeasted flat bread is gorgeous Turkish street food. Instead of serving it with ayran, a refreshing yogurt drink, I opted for a thicker dip, replacing the traditional mint with fennel.

A bit of lemon juice squeezed on the gözleme is a nice accompaniment 

My choice of filling and dip was influenced by items found in our potager (fennel, sorrel), root cellar (butternut squash, onion), cupboard (pistachios), and fridge (crème fraîche) and my focus on keeping the taste more Middle Eastern than not.

(makes 32 two-inch gözleme. Any dough/filling not used can be frozen or the recipe could be halved)
  • Butternut squash, roasted, pureed, 500 gms/16 fluid ounces (about 1 medium whole squash)
  • Onion, 1 small, thinly sliced
  • Pistachios, shelled, finely minced, 1 to 2 T
  • Sorrel, fresh, a small handful
  • Olive oil, 90 ml/3 fluid ounces
  • Flour, white, 415 gms/24 fluid ounces
  • Yeast, dried, 1 heaping tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Water, tepid, 275-300 ml/9-10 fluid ounces (depending on the age of flour, fresher requires more fluid)
  • Crème fraîche or very thick yogurt, 235 ml/8 fluid ounces
  • Fennel, fresh, 1 heaping T
  • Garlic, 1 clove, pressed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon slices
Yes, that is Parmesan in the upper right hand corner, but it is not an ingredient. Don't ask!

How to roast butternut squash is covered here.

While the squash is baking, prepare the dough. Making a well, add the yeast, sugar, and a pinch of salt (a pinch is the amount of salt remaining between your thumb and forefinger once you make the pinch).

Pour on the tepid water which needs to feel lukewarm when tested on the inner part of your wrist. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Knead dough about ten minutes until it is smooth. If a stand mixer is available just put the ingredients in the mixer's bowl and choose the paddle attachment for kneading. Make sure that the dough is not sticky at all, adding flour if necessary. Put the ball on a lightly oiled plate, cover with a clean, moistened tea cloth/dish towel and place in a warm place (over a heating pad, in a very low oven, over a radiator) until roughly doubled in bulk which should take about thirty minutes.

Scoop out the squash and using a stick mixer or a potato masher/fork puree the flesh.

Moderately carmelise the onions in a small amount of oil for about fifteen minutes. Towards the end, toss in the chiffonade of sorrel (stack washed leaves, trim off the stem end of the pile, roll starting from one side until you have a fat cigar shape, and slice thinly). Stir for a half-minute or until it becomes grey and mushy. It practically evaporates, but does leave behind a nice, lemony accent.

Stir the onion mixture into the squash and toss in the pistachios. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

With a back of a spoon, roughly divide the filling into eight parts.

For the dipping sauce mix together the crème fraîche, fennel, and pressed garlic. Add enough salt to give it a zing.

Briefly knead by hand the dough to get a firm ball, adding flour if it is still sticky. Divide it into eight equal parts. I weighed mine but feel free to eye-ball the approximate size. I won't tell anyone! Dust your work area lightly with flour and roll out into an one-eighth thick circle about six inches in diameter.

The filling is more thickly smeared than it is piled on.

Fold the top edge smack towards the center point of the dough circle and the filling. The goal is to completely encase the stuffing. Follow with a side.

Do the same with the bottom edge.

Finishing up with the remaining side edge, the filling will be nicely enveloped. Lightly press down with your hands to tighten up folds. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet (seasoned cast iron works well) over a medium flame for several minutes.

Coat one surface of the pastry packet well with olive oil.

Flip the oil-coated side of one pastry onto the hot skillet and cook for about three minutes. Apply olive oil onto the top, turning it over to cook for another three minutes. If you want to serve all of them at the same time, keep the already cooked ones warm in a low oven and finish pan-grilling the rest.

Gözleme also resembles stuffed Indian paratha.

Cut each large square into four smaller ones with a sharp knife/pizza cutter. Served hot, the stuffed flat bread was satisfyingly comforting as only fresh bread can be, a bit chewy, a bit gooey, and really lovely! The piquant dip and lemon slices were a nice foil to the filling's nutty sweetness.

The two uncut sides allow you to pick up a square fairly cleanly so it is great finger food

À la prochaine!


Butternut squash spice cookies with orange icing
Butternut squash bisque
Leek, bacon, parmesan calzone