John Gregory-Smith discovered his love for Turkish cuisine on a trip to his father's home country.
Make the Spinach Topping
Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the onion and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until golden. Add the spinach and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted. Add the cumin, black pepper, and a good pinch of salt. Mix well, remove from the heat, and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Make the Pide Dough
Put the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Stir and set aside for a few minutes until the mixture begins to froth.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the salt. Pour in the olive oil and yeast mixture. Start to combine with your hands, while slowly pouring in the ice water. Continue until all the water is incorporated and the dough starts to stick together. If needed, add a few extra tablespoons of water to help the dough fully combine. Transfer the dough onto a floured board and knead for
5 to 6 minutes until shiny and stretchy. Place into an oiled mixing bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and leave for 30 minutes to rise.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. [For this recipe, we’ll only use 4 pieces. You can freeze the rest of the dough, or double the spinach topping recipe.] Use your hands to form each piece into an oval shape. Dust both sides with flour and roll out into a large boat shape. The dough should be really thin—you should be able to just about see the board through the dough. Once you are there, prick the dough all over with a fork. Carefully place on the prepared baking sheet.
Arrange the spinach down the middle of each pide, leaving a 3/4-inch gap around the edges. Add the cheese. Fold the edges in on themselves, all around the pide, so that you have a folded 3/8-inch border. Starting at one end, and using your thumb and forefinger, squeeze the pastry border together so that it crimps and stands up a little. Do this all the way around and squeeze the two ends together. You should end up with a boat shape. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the two pointy edges have slightly curled up and the sides are golden.
About this recipe
"Pide are really easy to make. You just need a simple, well-seasoned dough made from fine flour, yeast, salt, and water. The dough is best used immediately as it has the perfect flavor and texture when fresh. If you don’t want to use all of the pide dough at the same time, pop any remaining dough into a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Just take the bag out and thaw overnight before using.
Traditional pide are made with lots of meat and butter. Spinach pide is a modern version that is much lighter. The pide are flavored with spinach, onions, cheese, and a background hint of cumin. The trick here is making sure that the pan is really hot when you cook the spinach, so that it cooks quickly and doesn’t go watery, meaning the pide stays perfectly crispy." -- John Gregory-Smith in Turkish Delights
Recipes courtesy of Turkish Delights by John Gregory-Smith, photography by Martin Poole.