My Grandmother was an excellent baker, accomplishing miracles in her tiny kitchen. Nut Pita was a special treat, particularly at Christmas. Many recipes have never been passed down to us. Nuts or poppy seed were very common ingredients in her pastries.
Pita means pie in Serbian, and I understand that the pastry part of these pies is generally a puff pastry dough or phyllo dough. The fillings could also be meat fillings, cheese or fruit. Pie can be interpreted as anything made with a crust, usually on the bottom, and sometimes also on top of a filling. Fillings may be sweet or savory. In my mind, Nut Pita is one of the recipes always associated with Christmas. It is not a very sweet dessert, but it is quite rich. My grandmothers Nut Pita is two layers of unsweetened pastry dough, with a ground walnut, egg and sugar filling.
In Grandmas Nut Pita, the filling was made with a dozen eggs, separated. The whites were whipped separately and folded into the yolks, sugar and ground nuts. The pastry she made was with yeast, though not puff pastry type dough. It was rolled to fit a 13 x 9 inch pan, the filling went in and this was topped with another layer of the pastry. After baking, it was always sliced into diamond shapes, brushed with vanilla and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. This is her recipe.
4 cups flour
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup unsalted butter, or 2 sticks
1 cup cream or evaporated milk
12 large eggs, separated
4 cups ground walnuts
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
Vanilla, for brushing
Powdered sugar for dusting
Prepare the dough. Mix the yeast into warm water to soften. Mix together and blend well (by hand or machine) all ingredients for dough and then divide dough into two parts. Roll out one part and line a 13 x 9 inch pan. Do not allow time for the dough to rise.
Make the filling by beating together all egg yolks and 2 of the whites with the sugar, whiskey and nuts. In a separate bowl, beat the rest of the egg whites and fold them into the yolk mixture. Pour into the dough-lined pan.
Roll out the second part of the dough and lay it atop the filling. Slash with a knife or prick with a fork and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until done. When done, sprinkle the top with vanilla, or use a pastry brush. Slice into diamond shapes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
About The Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. Many people have asked what A Harmony of Flavors means. Have you ever had a meal where the visual presentation was stunning, the smells were incredible, the taste was so remarkable that you ate slowly savoring every bite, wishing the experience would never end? Then you have experienced what a truly harmonious meal can be like.
My passion is to teach people how to create a Harmony of Flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own.
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