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.

Perpeq
A recipe found on Retro Housewife and noted on that site as being a contribution by Mrs. Isold Gera, 1950.

Ingredients
15 tbspn. Flour
Water
Melted butter
10 eggs
7 tbspn butter
½ pint milk
½ pound goat or sheep cheese
Salt

Instructions

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.

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40 comments

  • October 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm //

    Wow! Another fantastic recipe! I love this idea!!! It is so interesting to learn about other countries’ culinary traditions! Well done! :-)

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm //

      Thank you Manu!

  • October 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm //

    This is such a great idea! I love the peek into other culture’s traditional recipes.

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm //

      Thanks so much Mary.

  • October 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm //

    I like all the layers of dough in this recipe, with all those layers and eggs how could you go wrong. This seems like the perfect breakfast to me, pretty photos as well.

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm //

      Hi Suzanne,

      What a great idea, having this with a cuppa, thanks for commenting.

  • October 6, 2011 at 1:06 am //

    Yum, this looks super tasty – love the photos too, great light! :)

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm //

      Thanks Sara!

  • October 6, 2011 at 2:12 am //

    Oh, I love the salty, sweet, tangy combination in this dish. I bet the goat/sheep cheese adds some wonderful and surprising depth to this. Yum!
    -E

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:27 am //

      Me too, thank you E!

  • October 6, 2011 at 3:55 am //

    Gorgeous recipe. I can see myself having perpeq for brunch :)

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:28 am //

      Hi Kiran, let me know your thoughts if you give it a try? Thank you so much for commenting.

  • October 6, 2011 at 5:00 am //

    This is really a fantastic recipe. I love the layering of the pastry at the bottom. The slow cooked cheese and egg mixture sounds divine. Thanks for posting this special recipe!

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:28 am //

      Thank you so much Tina.

  • October 6, 2011 at 5:27 am //

    I laughed because I thought it said “wordless wednesday” and I was like, there are lots of words! But it says “wordly” he he First time to your blog! It’s beautiful. Also this recipe sounds like a keeper.

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm //

      Hi Sook, that would be hilarious! A little slight correction, it says “Worldly! What a major tongue twister… Wordless, Wordly, Worldly lol Thanks so much for commenting.

  • October 6, 2011 at 7:50 am //

    It sounds fantastic, I love the layers of dough. I’m with you on the addition of sugar and orange zest.

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:28 am //

      Thank you Alli!

  • October 6, 2011 at 9:56 am //

    This looks fantastic. I’ll give this a try as soon as I get some goat cheese.

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm //

      Thank you Baltic Maid.

  • October 6, 2011 at 11:09 am //

    I love wordly wednesday!! also great to learn a litle about other cultures, tasty treat!!

    • October 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm //

      Thank you Vianney!

  • October 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm //

    This looks great. Especially the second picture with the flower and sun kiss, so lovely, so warming :)

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:29 am //

      Thank you so much Tarte Pink.

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:27 am //

      Thank you Nora.

  • October 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm //

    Fantastic – your pictures are beautiful and this is a GREAT series!

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:26 am //

      Thank you Ann = )

  • October 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm //

    Wow. This looks amazing! Beautiful photo.

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:26 am //

      Thank you Dara!

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:26 am //

      Thank you = )

  • October 7, 2011 at 3:54 am //

    Love the idea of featuring world cuisine. I’m happy to learn something new every week!

  • October 7, 2011 at 8:47 am //

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments.

  • October 7, 2011 at 10:50 am //

    I love your series! What a great idea to feature other country’s delicacy. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:26 am //

      Hi Yudith, thank you so much.

  • October 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm //

    I’m so intrigued by this recipe and could definitely see how it would make a delicious brunch!

    • October 8, 2011 at 6:25 am //

      Hi Joanne, thank you, it would make for a great item at brunch.

    • October 10, 2011 at 11:08 am //

      Thank you Russell!