Ajaran Khachapuri (Acharuli Khachapuri) 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Mar 4, 2015

Make this cheesy, buttery, eggy dish for a weekend brunch or your next snow day. It's so filling, you won't need much on the side.

Khachapuri comes in all sorts of forms, the most decadent of which hails from the mountainous Ajara region along Georgia's Black Sea coast. The area is known for its rich, aromatic dairy products.

The recipe takes about 2 1/2 hours, start to finish.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest for 1 1/2 hours.


Servings:
6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 1/2 ounce active dry yeast (two packets; 4 1/2 teaspoons total)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more for greasing the proofing bowl
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, plus 1 for the egg wash
  • 5 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • For the filling
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • For serving
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salted butter (optional)

Directions

For the dough: Combine the yeast, sugar and warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy.

Add the 12 tablespoons of melted butter, the 2 beaten eggs, the flour and salt; mix well to form a soft dough. (You’ll probably need to use your hands to get everything thoroughly incorporated.) The dough will be fairly sticky but should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a work surface. Use a little butter to grease a large bowl.

Turn the dough out onto the floured surface; knead for 2 to 3 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Roll into a ball and transfer to the bowl, turning to coat with the butter. Cover the bowl with a towel; set it in a warm place to rise until approximately doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Thirty minutes before you plan to bake the khachapuri, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two heavy-duty baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Punch the dough down and divide it into 6 equal balls. Working with one ball at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll each one into a round about 10 inches in diameter.

Loosely roll two opposite edges of the circle toward the center to create an "eye" or boat shape that's 7 to 8 inches long, pinched in at the ends and 4 to 5 inches across at the widest point. Firmly twist the edges together at the ends (the corners of the eye); press the twists down with your thumb to "seal" them. Transfer each khachapuri to the lined baking sheets (3 per sheet) to rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the cheeses, yogurt, beaten eggs and salt in a medium bowl. Once the formed doughs have rested, fill them with the cheese mixture, leaving enough room at the top to crack an egg into each one later.

Beat 1 whole egg with the teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Use a small brush to coat the dough generously with the wash.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crusts begin to turn golden; transfer the baking sheets to the stove top (off the heat).

For serving: Use the back of a spoon to make a deep, 3-inch wide well in the center of each khachapuri. Crack one of the 6 eggs into each well. Return the khachapuri to the oven; bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the crusts turn deep golden brown. The whites of the inset eggs should be fairly opaque but still wobbly, and the yolks should be glistening. (The eggs will continue to cook in the hot cheese after they emerge from the oven.)

Place each khachapuri on its own plate. Pass the salted butter at the table, if desired. Before digging in, mix the inset egg thoroughly into the cheese (and optional butter) with your fork.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Jenny Holm, who blogs at GeorgianTable.com.

Tested by Sandhya Babu.

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