I have been blessed to have a number of Syrian familes in my church. Their food is just wonderful. This recipe is for a “pie” and it is my iteration on the traditional method of making these wonderful packets of flavor. The dough is very unique with the addition of 1 cup of oil. This makes a dough with a consistency of “play dough”. Rolling out this dough is somewhat of a challenge, however I think I have an option that makes uniform dumplings that turn out delicious. First I don’t find that this dough raises similar to a bread dough. It rises but not to double it’s size. Secondly the dough seems much drier than most bread doughs, even with the oil, milk and water. So I make the dough, let it sit for 1-2 hours in my proofing box and then make the skins for the dumplings.
The classic approach to making these pies is to make the dough as I have outlined, then tear off a piece of dough and make a round about the size of a golf ball. Then place them on a clean flat floured surface and push them into a oval, then roll them with a rolling pin. Once this is done, you take one of the skins, place it in your hand, scoop out the filling and seal it up. Or alternatively, place the filling on top of the ovals, then close them up on the floured surface.
I am sure the final result is almost as delicious as what I have outlined. However, my approach makes even dumplings with a thinner skin. I take enough dough for say 3-4 4 inch rounds. The rest of the dough I leave covered with a moist towel. I make these 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, or a 2-3 setting on my pasta maker. I roll the dough into a short log, then smash it into a long strip, then roll it thin enough with a rolling pin to use in my pasta machine on the 0 setting. I then roll it through the settings 0, 1, 2, 3. Placing the sheet of dough on the clean flat surface. I then use a 4 inch cookie cutter to make the rounds. I set the rounds aside covered in a moist towel, as this dough seems to dry out quickly.
I take about 1-2 TBPS of filling, fill the round, and seal them into the torpeado shape you see in the picture above. Interestingly the olives used in this recipe are from the Middle East and have a very different flavor from those most Americans buy in their markets. I strongly suggest you use the Middle Eastern oilves, if you can find them. We have a couple of middle eastern groceries here in Lexington who carry this type of olives. If you can’t find them, the standard green olive (without stuffing) will work fine.
Pepper and Olive Dumplings (Pies): Borak Zaitoon
- 1 Pasta Maker https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009U5OSO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- 1 Proofing Box I use this proofing box all the time, for bread doughs, yeasted dumpling doughs and other things. It works wonderfully and keeps the temperature consistent. https://www.amazon.com/Brod-Taylor-Folding-Proofer-Cooker/dp/B01MEEH0SE/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2GSX4ZJ61D8UY&keywords=Brod%2B%26%2BTaylor%2BFolding%2BProofer%2B%26%2BSlow%2BCooker&qid=1648128992&sprefix=brod%2B%26%2Btaylor%2Bfolding%2Bproofer%2B%26%2Bslow%2Bcooker%2Caps%2C69&sr=8-1-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFEQkY0RlEyTUhVWUEmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA3NjgyMjFGTTYzTVhQOTNXTk4mZW5jcnlwdGVkQWRJZD1BMDg4MzI4MDFTWjlJRjRDWEdGQk4md2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl&th=1
- 1 Rolling Pin https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Maple-Plain-Rolling-Dowel/dp/B000IYYG26/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1LL6XKV7RSHII&keywords=j.k.+adams+maple+plain+rolling+dowel&qid=1648299841&sprefix=J.K.+Adams+%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-2
- 1 4 inch Cookie Cutter https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Maple-Plain-Rolling-Dowel/dp/B000IYYG26/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1LL6XKV7RSHII&keywords=j.k.+adams+maple+plain+rolling+dowel&qid=1648299841&sprefix=J.K.+Adams+%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-2
Dough – Ajeen Savory Dough
- 4 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 2 tsp Instant yeast
- 1 cup Warm Milk
- 1 cup EVOO I use the California Olive Oil brand which I find delicious and utilitarian, https://www.amazon.com/California-Olive-Ranch-Everyday-Virgin/dp/B01EM6TJ4A/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1MX082G7IJSKR&keywords=california+olive+oil&qid=1648211787&s=grocery&sprefix=California%2Cgrocery%2C90&sr=1-4
- 1 TBSP EVOO
- 1 White onion finely diced
- 1 Fresh red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 jarred roasted bell pepper finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ lb Pitted green olives (or sliced olives) finely chopped As I mentioned above try to find Middle Eastern Olives.
- ¾ tsp Sumac
- ¼-½ tsp Aleppo chili powder I love this chili powder but if you prefer thigs less spicy, put in ¼ tsp or leave it out. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YJ3Y2NX/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- ¼-½ tsp Black pepper ground
- Sea Salt as needed to. taste
Assembly and Serving
- Whole cracked Middle Eastern Olives and lemon wedges.
Dough – Ajeen Savory Dough
- Place the flour, sea salt and yeast in a stand mixer. Whish well.
- Using a dough hook, mix in the oil and milk until a dough ball forms.
- Remove the dough ball to a clean flat floured surface and knead until you have s shinny ball.
- Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Then place in the proofing box (or in an area that a consistent room temperature). I set my proofing box at around 80 degrees F.
- Leave the dough in the proofing box for 1-2 hours.
- Remove the dough and punch down on a clean flat floured surface.
- Cover the dough with a moist towel.
- Take enough dough for 3-4 "skins" and make a "log" of dough. Smash this log into a long strip. The roll it down with a rolling pin thin enough to place in the pasta maker at the 0 setting.
- Roll the dough to 2 or 3 (I prefer the 3 setting, but if you want a little thicker skins use 2). Using the 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out the skins, set aside and cover with a moist towel.
- Place the EVOO in a fry pan over moderate high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and cook until fragrant.
- Then add the red bell peppers and garlic.
- Add the olives, sumac, chili powder and black pepper. Cook until all is fragrant.
- Taste and add salt if needed. Mix well, then set aside.
Assembly and Serving
- Place 2-3 TBPS of the filling on top of the skins. Fold over in a halfmoon shape. Moisten the edges and seal well. Set them on a parchment covered cookie sheet, with the edge pointing up (see the picture).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees F, until the dumplings start turning golden brown.
- Serve them warm or at room temperature.
- Serve them with whole cracked olives and lemon wedges on the side.