worldly wednesdays: albania a perpeq recipe
Bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece the Republic of Albania enjoys a rich food history with Mediterranean and Balkan influences. The foods of Albania are pleasantly spiced comfort foods. How could it not be with the many influences of the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire?
When searching for a recipe we stumbled upon a site called Retro Housewife. A recipe spoke out to us that might not be a reflection of the above paragraph. What we found was a dish that whispered of grandmothers in kitchens that may not have had the fortune to use expensive spices and ingredients. An image of older women, simple kitchens, vegetable gardens, pens with goats and a coop with egg laying hens played in our heads. All that these Albanian women needed were the wonderfully fresh ingredients that they had at their fingertips.
Perpeq. It is considered a dessert, but for us Americans, with our collective sweet tooth, it would be more likely to find a place at Sunday brunch. It was tempting to modify the recipe with a sweeter cheese, a little orange rind and a bit of sugar. But, it is the aim of Worldly Wednesdays to give you a glimpse into another culture’s cuisine.
We can picture Albanian women whipping perpeq as easy as 1, 2, and 3 for large families, eagerly awaiting this dessert. The recipe is simple. Rolling the silky dough is easy and satisfying to touch. And, the bright yellow color of the dish that comes from using farm fresh eggs will brighten any table. A unique texture appeared on the top due to the use of diced goat cheese. As there were no pictures available and Albanian grandmothers are rare in certain areas we hope that this looks and tastes as if it was rush shipped to us from an Albanian kitchen.
A recipe found on Retro Housewife and noted on that site as being a contribution by Mrs. Isold Gera, 1950.
15 tbspn. Flour
7 tbspn butter
½ pint milk
½ pound goat or sheep cheese
1. Mix flour with water and make dough a med-firm consistency. Work it with your hands until the dough feels silky. Roll out like a sausage and cut in about 25 small sections.
2. Roll out each section to the size of a saucer. Pile one sheet on top of the other, putting melted butter on each so they don’t stick. Don’t butter the bottom and top sheets.
3. When all dough is used, roll the whole pile, giving it the shape of the dish you are going to bake it in.
4. Butter the dish and put in the dough.
5. In a mixing bowl, beat ten eggs (whites and yolks), add 7 tbsp. of butter, ½ pint of milk, 1.2 lb. of cheese, mix well and add salt, if desired. Pour the mixture over the dough and bake very slowly.
Not sure how the goat cheese was prepped, for our purposes it was diced into pieces similar to that of crumbled feta. The cheese did leave an interesting texture. This dish was baked very slowly at 300 degrees.