The first time that I heard about Khachapuri (also called Hachapuri) was from Nigella Lawson's beautiful book 'Feast'. I bought this book way back in 2004/5, not long after it was released. The chapter titled 'A Georgian Feast' totally mesmerised me. I searched for more information on Georgian cuisine, but came up with very little.
One of the first recipes that I tried from that chapter was 'Nana's Hachapuri'. One bite of this delicious bread and I was greedy for more... more information about this beautiful cuisine. A few years later, on an overseas trip, I read about a Georgian restaurant in a local magazine and immediately made plans to visit. One of the first things that we ordered was Khachapuri, and I was not disappointed. The Khachapuri that I had there, was quite different to the one in Nigella's 'Feast', but it was really, really good.
Back home, I set about experimenting and this is what I eventually came up with, with some help from the internet of course.
This recipe is the perfect Sunday brunch meal if you add the eggs.
4 cups strong bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 packet instant yeast (7 grams)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
enough warm water to make a soft dough
I simply place all the ingredients, minus the water, in the bowl of my food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the water, (about 2 cups) and mix until a soft dough is formed. Remove dough from the bowl, and knead for a few minutes, until it is smooth. Place in an oiled container, cover, and leave in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the filling. For this you will need:
200 grams mozzarella cheese, grated
200 grams feta cheese,crumbled
50 grams ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Combine all the above and mix well.
Note: I use an Egyptian brand cheese that is much creamier than Greek feta, but you can substitute with feta if that is not available.
You will also need:
Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Turkish hot pepper flakes, optional
About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 200 degrees C. Knead your dough briefly, and divide into 7-8 small balls. Roll each ball into an oval shape, about 1/4 inch thick.Turn the sides up and pinch the edges closed to form a pointed oval shape.Divide your filling between the oval loaves, and spread out evenly. Place on the pizza stone and bake until puffy, but not quite browned yet. If you are adding eggs, make a slight indent in the cheese and break 1 or 2 eggs into each indent. Return to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is blistered and the eggs are just set.
When ready, remove from the oven and brush with some olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and some Turkish hot pepper if desired. Serve at once.
Note that this is quite a large recipe, but we love having leftovers so I usually make the full recipe. You can easily halve the recipe if desired.