Turkish Pancakes- ‘Gözleme’

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In France there’s the crêpe; in Britanny the gallette. In India you find the samosa, in South Eastern Europe, North Africa and Turkey the börek. In Spain there is the empanada. Different communities also have their version of the pancake and in Turkey there is the wonderful gözleme.  If you’ve never had gözleme, it’s like a stuffed pancake, only it’s made with a dough (not a batter) which is stretched and pulled and stuffed (eg with spiced minced meat or cheese and spinach) and then folded over a hot plate. Having eaten my fair share of these delights when on holiday in Turkey, I decided that I would have to try making them myself. I found a traditional recipe for these, got out my crepe pan and got started! I have to say, they were quite tricky to make. Rolling the pastry out so thinly takes time and the thin pastry can easily tear so you have to be extra careful. However, if you make a big batch like I did (doubled the quantities) you end up with beautiful pastries that you can eat for lunch or as a snack as they’re addictive, filling, and best served hot with a Greek-style cooling yoghurt dip containing some dried mint and chopped cucumber.

These gözleme are made by rolling dough out thinly, filling it, folding it repeatedly and then are traditionally browned on a griddle or ‘tav’. The ones I made were filled  with spinach and feta, but the possibilities are endless – try mushrooms, mashed potato, beef and onion and even roast aubergine and cheese.  Dare I say it, you could probably even have them for pudding, stuffed with banana and Nutella! So, if you have a bit of spare time and are looking for something different to try, I would definitely recommend these!
NB: the proper name for these is gözleme, which comes from the Turkish word for eye. You’ll know they’re done when brown ‘eyes’ form on the dough, little golden indicator lights, letting you know your dinner’s ready.

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Turkish pancakes (makes 8)

You will need:  

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml water

Cheese filling:

  • White cheese, such as Turkish beyaz peynir or Greek Feta, crumbled
  • Onion, chopped
  • Fresh/dried mint, chopped
  •  Parsley, chopped
  • Season with: paprika, salt and pepper

Spinach filling: crumbled feta cheese and spinach, chopped (around 300g of feta and 400g of the spinach)

Make it:
  1. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle, and slowly mix in the water to form a slightly sticky dough. You may need to adjust the quantity of water – don’t get the dough too wet. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Pop back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out the first into a circle about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter. Place the spinach and feta in the middle of the dough, then fold over the top and bottom to cover it. Then fold in the sides. Your dough should look like a flat square as shown in the picture.
  3. Heat a little oil over a medium heat on a crepe pan or non-stick frying pan. Cook your gözleme until it starts to turn golden brown, then flip it over. Brush the top with a little oil or melted butter.
  4. Remove from the pan and serve hot. If you’re making a full batch before serving, keep them warm by layering them between pieces of greaseproof paper and placing in an oven on very low heat.
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