This beautiful book was left in my father’s flat in Warsaw by someone staying there and I was happy to adopt it. On looking inside I noticed the influence of north African cooking on Israeli food which surprised me as I had always considered its influences to have been more east European based, and vice versa.
I tried out one of the recipes mentioned here- eggplant (aubergine) and brynza cheese burekitas (pasty/pastry), but found the eggplant a little bland so the next time I made it I substituted it with tapenade, a delectable Provencal dip made from olives and other goodies, with a much more savoury result to my mind.
To make the tapenade:
-150 gr black olives
-1 anchovy filet
-1 small clove of garlic
-1 small teaspoon mustard
-1 spoon of capers
– 3 spoons good quality virgin olive oil
– half a small bay leaf, crushed (optional or use thyme instead)
– a squeeze of lemon
-a pinch of salt if necessary and pepper
Blend the whole lot together. I like it somewhat tart so usually add a wee bit more lemon juice. That’s it, that’s the tapenade for you. If you don’t eat it all on some hot toast, leave what remains to add to your pasties.
With the pastry, I took the quick way (am not a big pastry maker) and bought frozen French pastry which, when partly defrosted, I cut into about ten cm squares and rolled out slightly.
For the cheese, I used brynza, which is a well known sheep cheese made here in Poland, but you can use feta cheese if brynza is not available. I mix it with a bit of kefir, but you can use some natural (or Greek) yogurt intstead and, as you can see on the photo, I put a spoonful of the cheese and then a spoonful of tapenade on the pastry.
It’s a good idea to get your tapenade and cheese mixture ready at the beginning, because you don’t want the pastry to defrost too much and get soft and awkward to roll out and end up sticking to your board. I don’t have enormous pastry decorating skills, in fact none, as can be seen from the finished product at the end of this post.
Once ready, brush a little egg over the pasties and place them in a heated oven and bake for 20 to 25 mins at 200 c until golden brown.
To go with the pasty I made a lovely tomato salad which I read about here:
Heidi basically says to mix about half the amount of tomatoes you plan to use in some olive oil and a bit of maple syrup or brown sugar, and then roast them in a heated oven for between 45 mins to one hour.
Meanwhile, fry some capers in a small amount of olive oil and add them to your roasted tomatoes once they’ve cooled down a bit, and mix them with fresh uncooked tomatoes and some salad leaves.
I used rucola (rocket) leaves and some sunflower seeds I had fried together with the capers instead of the almonds she mentions and I didn’t add cheese to the salad either as I already had cheese in the pasties. Very nice accompaniment to the pasties and I made a classical French vinaigrette to go with it.
The pasties were hot and slightly tangy and the cooling sweetness of the tomatoes suited them well.
Unlike me when writing this post, you would do better to start with the tomato salad as they need more time in the oven, and you can start defrosting your pastry for the pasties while getting your oven heated for the tomaotes and then, add the pasties to the oven in the last half hour of roasting the tomatoes… if that makes any sense.