This cheesy, egg-topped pastry may look like a big yellow eye, but that shouldn’t stop you from burrowing deep inside it the moment the dish comes out of the oven. Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian egg and cheese pie, is typically filled with sulguni, a brined cheese similar to mozzarella in elasticity and feta in its salty-sourness. The pastry can be prepared several ways, varying in shape and fillings; the Adjaruli khachapuri are boat-shaped, and topped with the drool-inducing baked egg. Typically served as a street food in Georgia, khachapuri has also become an increasingly popular breakfast and brunch dish in Israel.
Prebake the yeasted dough pastry filled with a creamy blend of feta, mozzarella, and cottage cheese, then crack an egg on top to complete the khachapuri. Bake just until the egg is set, and the moment the khachapuri is cool enough to touch, break off the twisted end of the pasty and swirl it into the yolk and cheese.
Adjaruli Khachapuri (Cheese-and-Egg Filled Pies)
PHOTO BY CAITLIN BENSEL
1 cup whole milk
2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
3 1/4 cups (about 13 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
Heat milk in a saucepan over medium to 115°F; pour into a bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand 1 minute; stir. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Combine flour, softened butter, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Beat on low speed until butter is incorporated. With mixer running, add yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium, and beat until a supple dough forms, about 10 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a work surface, and shape into a ball. Place oil in a large bowl.Place dough ball in bowl, and turn to coat completely with oil. Cover bowl loosely with a clean towel, and place in a dry, warm place. Let stand until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a work surface, and divide into 6 even portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Place balls on a baking sheet, and let stand in a dry, warm place until slightly springy, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir together mozzarella, feta, and cottage cheese in a large bowl.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Working 1 dough ball at a time, roll into an oval shape with a maximum length of 10 inches and maximum width of 4 inches. Spoon 1/2 cup cheese mixture into center of oval, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll dough borders up and toward center of oval, and pinch dough together at ends to create a canoe shape.Repeat with remaining dough balls and cheese mixture.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray. Place 3 khachapuri on each prepared baking sheet. Brush crusts evenly with 1/3 of the melted butter. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.
Remove baking sheets from oven. Break an egg in the center of each khachapuri. Brush crusts evenly with 1/3 of the melted butter. Return to oven, and bake until dough is golden brown and egg whites are set. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and brush evenly with remaining butter. Serve immediately.