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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On a very lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a 6-inch circle. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- In another small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water or milk. Brush dough with egg wash.
- 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.
*We used Bonne Maman Blackberry Preserves.
[…] found this bread in the July/August edition of Bake from Scratch Magazine. The magazine calls Ekmak the Syrian pastry you need to know. Apparently, Ekmak means “sweet […]