Georgian Cheese Pie
In the restaurants and khachapuri parlors of Georgia, the pie is made from a dough that combines local yogurt, eggs, and flour, or from yeast dough. The shape and the fillings vary from region to region.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup club soda, or more as needed, at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 recipe Cheese Filling (see below)
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the middle. Pour in the egg, oil, and club soda and stir into the flour, adding more club soda, if necessary, to make a rather soft dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a linen or cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel, and let stand for 1 hour.
2. Divide the dough into four parts and shape each one into a ball. Let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two large baking sheets.
4. On a floured surface, roll out one of the balls to an 1/8-inch-thick square. Brush the dough with some of the melted butter. Dip your fingers in melted butter and pull the edges of the dough in different directions, stretching it evenly until it is almost transparently thin. Don’t worry if the dough tears, as you will be folding it up. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the dough to form an even square. Fold the square in half, brush the surface generously with melted butter, and fold in half again crosswise, to form a smaller square. It should be approximately 6 to 7 inches. If it isn’t, pull it out slightly to fit the dimensions.
5. Brush the square with butter. Shape one-fourth of the filling into a ball and place in the center of the square. Fold in the corners of the square like an envelope. With your palm, flatten the pie so it is about 1 inch thick. Brush the top with melted butter, and carefully transfer to a prepared baking sheet.
6. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the dough and filling.
7. Bake the pies in the middle of the oven until golden brown; about 35 minutes. Serve warm.
10 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
8 ounces feta cheese, preferably Bulgarian, crumbled
6 ounces cottage cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
Salt, to taste (optional)
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the salt and mix well. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
Makes 4 pies, to serve 8