Introduction: Georgian Cheese Pie
It's another amazingly rich and hefty dish from the great mountainous land of Georgia! This stuff - called khachapuri (yes, you must create phlegm to pronounce it correctly) - is the staple Georgian food, found on every street corner. The Georgians swear that it makes them live past one hundred.
Step 1: The Dough - the CuisineArt Method
My pastry dough method always involves a cuisineart. It is infinitely easier than trying to "cut" in the butter by hand. All you have to do is (1) get a cuisineart, and (2) get to know the pulse button on it.
For this recipe, you take 2 cups flour, 11/2 tbsps butter and 1 tsp salt and pulse them in the cuisineart until the mixture resembles a coarsemeal (see photo). Then stir in one egg and 1/4 cups of youghurt (preferably not non-fat) and form a ball. You may need to add a bit of water to get the whole thing to stick together. Even if it's a bit crumbly, don't worry - that's actually good. Just gather it up into saran wrap, squish it into a ball and put it in the fridge for about an hour or so.
Step 2: The Filling - Cheese
The filling is basically 1 1/2 lbs. of cheese - whatever cheese you like and melts decently. I like to put in about 1/2 lb of fresh ricotta (for lightness), 1/2 lb of havarti (or some other semisoft) and 1/4 lb of fresh goat cheese (not aged or really strong goat cheese). Mix the cheeses together and add an egg.
Step 3: The Pie
At this point, preheat the oven to 350.
Take the dough out of the fridge and squash it into a flat square. Remove wrap and cut the dough in two pieces. Put half the dough on wax paper, lighting dusting it with flour (this is a lot easier than using lots of flour on a chopping board). Put another sheet of wax paper on top of the dough and roll out until it's about half a cm (?) thin. Try to form it into a rectangle shape. Put half the filling in and flop it on top of itself to form a pocket. Trim the edges and pinch them closed. You can make a nice little indentation pattern with a form if you'd like. No need to poke holes in the dough. Do the same to the other half of the dough. Brush with egg yolk and stick in the oven.
Step 4: Bake and Eat!
Cook it for about 50 minutes - or until it gets all golden brown. Get a bunch of other food together (preferably traditional Georgian food - dumplings, for example, grilled meat, etc) and have a feast. (And cut up the pie into small squares.)
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