Quince Turkish Pizza (Ayvali Lahmacun)

If you love pizza then you must try this dish! Lahmacun or “Turkish Pizza” is traditionally prepared as a bread dough rolled out until it is really thin and then packed with finely diced tomato, peppers and meat. It is absolutely delicious.

But this variation of lahmacun is superb! Slightly sweet from the quince and not spicy, it’s a delicious savory alternative to the traditional lahmacun!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 4 quince
  • 4 small onions
  • 1 1/2 cups of walnuts
  • 1 tsp black pepper (kara biber)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 TBSP of tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP sweet red pepper powder (pull biber)
  • 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses (nar eski)

Normally in Turkey, all of these ingredients are taken in a large dish directly to the FIRIN which literally means “oven.” The FIRIN is the local bread baker and in Turkish cities there are many of them. They are amazing and the work that they do is incredible! Then at the FIRIN, the lahmacun is prepared. This recipe made several dozen lahmacun.

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BUT, if you don’t live in Turkey and you still want to make lahmacun. Or, you want to learn to make it at home. Then first and foremost, you need to prepare a bread dough.

Bread Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 2 tBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water
  • 1 TBSP sugar

Combine the sugar, yeast, and water together in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Allow the yeast to activate by allowing it to set for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then add 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP salt and whisk together. Slowly add in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined.

NOTE: You may not need all of the flour so add it cup by cup to ensure that the dough is not too dry.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Coat a bowl with 1 TBSP of olive oil and place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. Then punch it down and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes,

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into golf ball size pieces. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece until VERY thin. NOTE: Lahmacun is a very thin crust Turkish pizza. It needs to be very thin but still able to hold onto the topping.

Next, take 2-3 TBSP of the quince mixture and spread it onto the the dough. It should form a nice and thin layer where you barely see the dough.

Transfer the lahmacun to a really hot baking sheet or pizza stone and bake on 250C  (or as hot as your oven can get) for 3-5 minutes. NOTE: Watch it closely because it will bake fast and it would be a shame for your hard work to go up in flames. I mean literally, it can burn.

Then remove from the oven, serve and enjoy!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

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