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Transylvanian Griddle Breads with Cheese and Honey

by , featured in Tava
Published by Hardie Grant
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Introduction

These flatbread-style pies come in many variations throughout Romania and each of them is considered to be key to the cultural identity of the region you eat them in. They are called plăcinte, turte, scovergi, pite or lipii, and can be fried or grilled. There is a tradition in Ardeal, another name for Transylvania, to cook the pies on a lespede, which is a baking stone. A typical sweet filling can either be curd cheese or jam, drizzled with honey or dusted with icing (confectioner’s) sugar. I read that in old times these pies were so important that even a young lady’s dowry would include one of them. I have chosen to make a recipe with curd cheese, since it is easier to fold and cook, and irresistible when served with honey.

These flatbread-style pies come in many variations throughout Romania and each of them is considered to be key to the cultural identity of the region you eat them in. They are called plăcinte, turte, scovergi, pite or lipii, and can be fried or grilled. There is a tradition in Ardeal, another name for Transylvania, to cook the pies on a lespede, which is a baking stone. A typical sweet filling can either be curd cheese or jam, drizzled with honey or dusted with icing (confectioner’s) sugar. I read that in old times these pies were so important that even a young lady’s dowry would include one of them. I have chosen to make a recipe with curd cheese, since it is easier to fold and cook, and irresistible when served with honey.

Image of Irina Georgescu's Transylvanian Griddle Breads with Cheese and Honey
Photo by Matt Russell

Ingredients

Makes: 6

Metric Cups
  • 180 grams curd cheese (Romanian brânză de vaci or set cottage cheese)
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil (for cooking)
  • runny honey (for drizzling)

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 300 grams plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 20 grams golden caster sugar
  • 7 grams (1 sachet) fast-action dried yeast
  • 100 millilitres water
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6½ ounces fresh farmer’s cheese or Neufchâtel (Romanian brânză de vaci or set cottage cheese)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (for cooking)
  • honey (for drizzling)

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 7 grams (1 sachet) fast-action dried yeast
  • scant ½ cup water
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of salt

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Method

Transylvanian Griddle Breads with Cheese and Honey is a guest recipe by Irina Georgescu so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. If you are using cottage cheese for the filling, drain it of any excess water beforehand.
  2. Make the dough by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl, then knead until soft and silky. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Set a cast-iron or non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium–high heat.
  4. Flour your work surface and hands generously, then divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll one piece out to a circle, 25–30 cm (10–12 in) in diameter. Crumble (or spread) a sixth of the cheese on top. Bring the sides to the middle in 7 or 8 folds, overlapping them slightly, then press with your hands or gently use a rolling pin to flatten and seal them. Repeat until you have 6 filled breads ready to be cooked.
  5. Oil the hot pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook each pie on both sides for a few minutes until golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a plate and cover with a beeswax wrap or a reusable plastic bag (the steam will keep them soft) while you cook the rest. Serve warm, drizzled with runny honey.
  1. If you are using cottage cheese for the filling, drain it of any excess water beforehand.
  2. Make the dough by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl, then knead until soft and silky. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Set a cast-iron or non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium–high heat.
  4. Flour your work surface and hands generously, then divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll one piece out to a circle, 25–30 cm (10–12 in) in diameter. Crumble (or spread) a sixth of the cheese on top. Bring the sides to the middle in 7 or 8 folds, overlapping them slightly, then press with your hands or gently use a rolling pin to flatten and seal them. Repeat until you have 6 filled breads ready to be cooked.
  5. Oil the hot pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook each pie on both sides for a few minutes until golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a plate and cover with a beeswax wrap or a reusable plastic bag (the steam will keep them soft) while you cook the rest. Serve warm, drizzled with honey.

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