I could be Georgian. According to a 2009 survey, 88% of Georgians prefer khachapuri to pizza. If being Georgian meant that I would always get to consume a dish filled with runny rich eggs, doughy baked bread, and gooey cheesy deliciousness, then dammit, call me Georgian. By Georgian I don’t mean that state north of Florida either, I mean the Republic of Georgia located right in the middle of Europe and Asia. Such simple yet fabulous cuisine.
I ran across a recipe from my favorite blogger, Lady and Pups, specific to this dish. It took me a while to get around to making it with baby Arya monopolizing so much of my time these days. It is a pretty tall order to add new recipes to my repertoire being a new dad and all. Really the dish is as easy as could be, if you’ve made pizza before you can make khachapuri. You prepare a dough, make a thick bechamel laced with tons of cheese, form the dough, spread some salty oily tapenade on the dough, fill with cheese mixture, bake and top with a raw egg yolk, at least that’s the version I made. Depending on the region, the make up of the dish will vary, just like pizza. Heh.
You can adapt this any way you please and it will be phenomenal. I added some pink peppercorn on top along with the grated nutmeg.
-note to self, I NEED TO MAKE THIS AGAIN SOON!
Here are the steps I used from Lady and Pups (note I separated this into 3 portions and baked them on my Baking Steel):
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (270 grams) whole milk
- 2 tsp instant dried yeast
- 2 tbsp (27 grams) olive oil
- 3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp (16 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (183 grams) whole milk, cold
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to top
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups (320 grams) of equal parts of shredded gruyere, gouda and dried mozzarella cheese
- 4~6 tbsp store-bought or homemade tapenade/black olive pesto
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- Chili flakes to sprinkle
- TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Warm whole milk in the microwave for 40~50 seconds until it’s warm to the touch (but doesn’t burn, around 110F/45C). Stir in the instant dried yeast and let sit for 10 min until dissolved, then add the olive oil to the milk. In a large bowl, or stand-mixer bowl with dough-hook, combine bread flour, sugar and salt. Add the warm milk-mixture then knead for 3 min until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic-wrap and let proof for 2 hours at a warm place until doubled.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide in half. Fold the dough over itself a couple times, then shape them into 2 balls. Cover with plastic-wrap or a large bowl, and let proof again for 30~40 min. The dough should expand again but not doubled.
- TO MAKE THE CHEESE FILLING: While the dough is proofing, cook/stir unsalted butter and all-purpose flour in a pot over medium heat for 1 min. Add the cold milk and whisk the mixture continuously until it starts to simmer and thicken. The consistency should be like mayonnaise. Add the grated nutmeg then season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Let the sauce COOL COMPLETELY, then evenly mix in the shredded cheese (the cheese should not melt). Set aside.
- If you’re making your own tapenade: In a food-processor, combine 1 1/4 cup (155 grams) pitted black or green olives, 6 tbsp (80 grams) extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp (15 grams) raisins, 3 cloves of garlic, 4 fillets of anchovy, 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Puree the mixture as smoothly/finely as you can. Taste and season with salt if needed. Set aside.
- TO MAKE BAKE THE BREAD: Preheat the oven on 500F/250C, with a pizza-stone or large inverted cast-iron skillet in the middle.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large oval with pointy tips, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Rub 2~3 tbsp of tapenade over the dough, then pile 1/2 of the cheese-mixture across the middle. Fold the dough over to partially cover the cheese, then bring the 2 ends together and tuck the tips underneath itself, then pinch at the bottom so it sticks. Repeat with the second one.
- Slide the parchment with the bread on top, onto the pizza-stone or inverted cast-iron skillet. Bake for 10 min until golden browned on all sides. Place a large egg yolk, and 2 tbsp of unsalted butter in the center of each bread, then grate a bit of nutmeg and sprinkle some chili flakes over the top (plus some flake-y sea salt if needed).
- To serve, stir the yolk into the cheese and dig in.