I made every attempt to eat my weight in pastries on a recent trip to Istanbul. Sadly, I did not get to try everything. But I left with a new, minor obsession for a tiny breakfast bread served at my hotel–three bites of soft dough rolled with a sweet tahini filling and covered with finely chopped pistachios.
I am happily immersed in attempting to recreate it. And while my first attempt was yummy–and close to the original–the end result was not quite exact.
What I am attempting to make may very well be this bread, perhaps just made into small pieces (all the better for package tourists to fill their pockets for the day ahead). The bread also reminded me of povitica / potica – another nut-filled and rolled bread of Eastern European origin, with the swirls facing sideways instead of upward (as they do with a traditional cinnamon roll).
My first crack at this started with my usual sweet dough recipe, which I stretched then rolled with a tahini filling (1 cup tahini, 1 cup of sugar and a few pats of butter, maybe three tablespoons, melted). I divided the dough into four parts (as if I were making mini cinnamon rolls). The aesthetics were not quite there–cut too large, maybe, or the dough rolled too thickly. The taste was pretty close, though.
I’ll let you know when I hit the mark–which will probably involve a little less yeast and more stretching. But if you are hankering for a new taste at brunch, try the tahini filling in lieu of cinnamon/butter/sugar in cinnamon rolls. It’s delish — nutty, creamy and sweet.