Another regional pie for us from the Daring Kitchen (yes Daring Bakers’ has been re-christened Daring Kitchen, much to my disappointment.)
The host for this month Milkica from Mimi’s Kingdom decided to challenge us with a traditional Serbian Katmer pie. Katmer pie originates from southern parts of Serbia. It is traditionally filled with cheese, meat, leeks pumpkin, combination of cheese and Swiss Chard or spinach. The filling can be sweet or savoury but the crust remains the same. She challenged us to get creative filling the pie with whatever took our fancy. It is not the filling which caught my attention or got me excited but it was the pastry.
It’s a traditional type of puff pastry. This type of dough is made with lard instead of butter and is much simpler than puff pastry. This pastry is made as it was in the olden days. It’s a much simpler version of puff pastry that we are used to making and that’s the part of the challenge that I enjoyed the most. The pastry dough is wonderfully stretchy and easy to handle which makes the process a whole lot less frustrating! No butter or fat seeping out of the edges. On baking its supposed to flake, though mine was rolled out quite thick yet it did not flake as much as I would have liked it to. It was a little tough on the teeth a few hours later, but that could be because I stinged on the fat. Another “tradition” I did not follow was using lard. I used ghee instead. Maybe I didn’t rest it in between rollings…there was a good recipe that I did not get right and after the work I put in, my spirits drooped a little.
The proportions given by Mimi were large enough to feed my neighbourhood so I halved them. For the filling I made savoury cottage cheese scattered with nuts and raisins. Since the pastry was tough in a few places my teen and I practically scooped out the filling and ate it as is. (LOL). Don’t ask what I did with the pastry. I could have easily said “Oh the pie was a success…ten on ten…yummm….delicious….will make it again” but honestly it was one of my failed projects. The crusty pastry was really a struggle to eat and too chewy. It was a pity I couldn’t get it right, though I enjoyed the process immensely.
So dear friends I am going to give you Milkica’s recipe as is and if one of you can figure out where I went wrong, you know where to find me! Till then “Doviđenja” (doh vee-JEH-nyah)
Servings: One large pie baked in a dish approximately 8×8” (Serves 4)
2 cups spooned & scraped / 250g all-purpose (plain) flour
½ teaspoon salt 150-175ml warm water
More all-purpose (plain) flour for dusting
2 – 3 tablespoons / 30 – 45g soft lard/ Ghee/ Butter
- Measure all purpose flour, warm water and salt.
- Put lard/ ghee/ butter in a small bowl and leave in a warm place
- Mix all ingredients except lard in glass bowl and knead to form a soft dough.
- Transfer dough on a floured surface and knead it a little until you achieve elastic, but soft dough. Use additional flour if required to make a smooth, soft dough.
- Divide dough into six equal pieces and shape every piece into a round ball. Leave them to rest for 10 minutes.
- Using a rolling pin roll every piece of dough into a flat, round shape, approximately 1/8” / 3 – 4mm thick. Divide pieces in two groups of three. Brush first piece of dough with melted lard and cover with another piece of dough. Brush second piece of dough with lard and cover with third piece. Do not brush this third piece of dough with lard! Repeat the same with another three pieces of dough.
- You will have two piles of dough (rounds, placed on top of each other). Leave them again to rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll every pile using rolling pin into round shape, approximately 1/4 – 1/3” / 5 – 8mm thick.
- Using sharp knife make eight cuts around the formed circle (see picture).
- Brush surface with melted lard/ fat of your preference
- Fold brushed, cut petals onto the centre part of dough (see picture).
- Continue until you fold all eight of them.
- Turn the dough so the folded parts are underneath. Do the same with another pile of dough. Leave both pieces of dough to rest until you prepare the filling.
- Once the filling is prepared and cooled turn on your oven on 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4. Roll one of the pieces of dough on lightly floured surface into large, square or rectangular shape to fit your baking tin.
- Transfer layer of dough on baking tin brushed with melted lard.
- Arrange your filling all over the first layer of dough.
- Roll out the other piece of dough and transfer it to baking tin, covering filling completely. Press edges with your fingers to stick together.
- Brush surface of pie with melted lard.
- Cut whole pie into small square pieces. Bake pie in preheated oven around 30-40 minutes until deep golden in colour.
200 grams cottage cheese
1 small onion diced
Small or 1/2 Bell peppers (red & yellow) diced
1 green chilly chopped or 1/2 tsp chilly flakes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons butter
50 grams Cheddar Cheese grated (optional)
- Fry the onions in butter till they change colour.
- Add in the bell peppers, chillies. Sautee on medium heat for a minute.
- Add in the cottage cheese (broken into rough pieces). Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, breaking any large pieces of cottage cheese as you stir. Put off the heat. Add in cheddar cheese and mix.
- Cool slightly and the filling is ready to use.