This will be just the first version, as I intend to keep playing around with it. I really liked this one, but I have never been one to make my own pizza crust - I usually buy the bags of raw dough at the grocery store - so I want to play around with different crusts, and I had also intended to use string cheese - not the mozzarella sticks you find in the dairy aisle, but the real knots of Armenian string cheese over by the deli with the mozzarella and artisan cheeses. For some reason, there appears to be a run on string cheese. I tried three different markets and a Lebanese restaurant, but none of them had been able to get it recently.
The other thing that I ended up being completely fine with in the end but that threw me was the fenugreek. I know that fenugreek comes as either an herb - the leaves, or a spice - the seeds. I purchased what I thought was the ground seeds, but when I got home and opened/smelled it, it struck me that it smelled just like the "chaman" spice mixture that the Basturma is swathed in. I took a second look at the label and saw that it indicted chaman next to Fenugreek, so now I'm confused. I know fenugreek to be an ingredient in chaman, along with garlic, cumin, and other spices. I tried wandering around Google for an answer to this, but much like the black seeds used in Choreg, everyone seems to have something different to say. All's well that ends well in this case, but how will you know what you're buying? Ground fenugreek? Chaman? Chaman gets confusing as well, since some insist that it's a translation of cumin - sigh ...
As for the crust, my sister mentioned that she loves the one she uses, which turned out to be an Emeril recipe, but since I had already picked up pizza crust yeast and that one uses regular yeast, I decided to try the Fleischmann's recipe on the back of the packet. It was good, but I have a very specific crust I like, so I intend to play around with that at some point. I did add mahlab to the crust, which is what gives the Choreg it's wonderful flavor. It is also used to flavor string cheese, so I was thinking it would tie the whole thing together - except, of course, I couldn't find the string cheese!
Because I couldn't get the string cheese, I used a combination of Kraft's Touch of Philadelphia Shredded Mozzarella and a second five-cheese blend that included mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan ...
6 oz can Hunts Tomato Paste
1 c water
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 t fenugreek/chaman
2 t sugar
CRUST: (Fleischmann's Recipe + Mahlab)
1 3/4 - 2 1/4 c flour
1 envelope Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast
1 1/2 t sugar
3/4 t salt
2/3 c very warm water (120⁰-130⁰)
3 T oil
2 t mahlab
2 links of sujuk
Shredded cheese of choice
Cornmeal (optional for dusting tray)
- You want to make your pizza sauce first, to give it at least an hour for the flavors to marry. You can throw it together a day or two ahead and just keep it covered in the fridge. It's terribly difficult! Stir everything together until the oil is blended in. Think you can handle that? ;)
- For the crust, combine 1c of the flour, the sugar, salt, yeast, and mahlab in your bowl or mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the oil and hot water, mixing for about a minute until blended, then add more flour, a little at a time, until it pulls together into a ball - will be slightly tacky still (I used just shy of 2c). Knead for about 5" until smooth and elastic. Pat or roll into shape and transfer to baking pan. I like to use the cornmeal to prevent sticking and to add more texture to the crust.
- Set your oven to preheat to 450⁰.
- Spread sauce over the top of your crust, sprinkle with cheese, and top with slices of Sujuk. I like it sliced diagonally, about 1/4" thick, and I always snip off an end so I can peel off the casing first.
- Transfer to oven, immediately lowering heat to 425⁰, and bake for 15-20" until golden and bubbly.