honey cheese filled bread with fruit ekmak

For this adaptation of ekmak, rich, double-cream ricotta works as the luxurious filling while honey, mixed into the filling and drizzled on top, sweetens the deal. A sourdough starter or culture isn’t necessary; instead, a combination of active dry yeast and apple cider vinegar brings a bit of lift and tang to the mix. Finally, fresh summer blackberries bring a touch of sweet-tart complexity to this delightfully creamy dessert.

Be sure to check out the full story on ekmak in our July/August 2021 “Origin of a Classic” feature, available here.

Makes 9 ekmak
  • 20 ounces (567 grams) whole-milk double cream ricotta (about 2⅓ cups plus 4 teaspoons)
  • 4½ to 4¾ cups (563 to 594 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 4 teaspoons (28 grams) clover honey, plus more to serve
  • 3¾ teaspoons (11.25 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) warm water, 110°F (43°C) to 115°F (46°C) (about 1⅓ cups plus 4 teaspoons)
  • 4 tablespoons (48 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (see Notes)
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup (115 grams) fresh blackberries, halved lengthwise
  • ⅓ cup (112 grams) blackberry preserves*
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water or whole milk
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, ½ cup (63 grams) flour, eggs, honey, and ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) salt until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 6 ounces (170 grams) warm water, 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar, and yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, beat 4 cups (500 grams) flour, butter, and remaining 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar at low speed just until combined. Add yeast mixture and vinegar; with mixer on low speed, gradually add remaining 6 ounces (170 grams) warm water, beating just until dough comes together and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-low, and beat until dough is smooth, elastic, clears sides of bowl, and starts to climb dough hook, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl; add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too soft or too sticky. Add remaining 3 teaspoons (9 grams) salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute. (Dough will be soft, elastic, and tacky, and should pass the windowpane test; see Notes.) Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and shape into a round.
  4. Oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Position oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; lightly flour parchment. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray.
  6. Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 10 minutes. On a clean surface, divide dough into 9 portions (about 105 grams each); cover with prepared plastic wrap, spray side down, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  7. On a clean surface, roll each dough portion into a ball, and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover with prepared plastic wrap, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  8. On a very lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a 6-inch circle. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  9. On a very lightly floured surface, gently pull and stretch 1 dough circle into an evenly thin 10½×4-inch oval; place with long side of oval closest to you. (Keep remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out.) Spoon and spread about ⅓ cup (83 grams) ricotta mixture in center of dough, leaving a 1- to 1½-inch border around edges. With hands placed on opposite sides of oval, gently fold top right corner of dough oval downward over bottom right corner of dough oval; gently press to secure. Fold bottom left corner of dough oval upward over top left corner of dough oval; gently press to secure. Repeat with bottom right and top left corners, folding so dough forms a boat-like shape with filling still visible. Pinch at juncture of dough folds on both sides to secure, and gently pull dough to 12 to 12½ inches long. Place dough “boats” at least 1 to 1¼ inches apart on prepared pans. (See Shaping Ekmak on page 110.)
  10. In another small bowl, stir together blackberries and preserves. Spoon blackberry mixture over exposed filling of each ekmak (about 1 tablespoon each). Let proof in batches for 10 minutes. (See Notes.)
  11. In another small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water or milk. Brush dough with egg wash.
  12. Bake, one batch at a time, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cool on pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm with honey. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Note: Unlike softened butter, room temperature butter should provide no resistance when pressed with a finger. At this point, the butter is softened enough to easily incorporate into your dough.

*We used Bonne Maman Blackberry Preserves.


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