There are some flavors that we are always familiar with, ones that we see all the time. But after a while, whether it’s from too much familiarity or what, these flavors can drift away from our lives. Mahlep “çatal çörek” pastry is one such flavor for me. A classic Turkish bakery pastry, and one that I’m used to seeing ever since I can remember on Beyaz Fırın’s shelves, I started thinking that mahlep “çatal çörek” was starting to be forgotten.
As a matter of fact, the use of mahlep in our kitchens is becoming less and less. I believe it’s used mostly by Turks in pastry-making. Found in the cherry-like fruit of a shrub tree from the Rosaceae family, this spice is also used in Greek and North African cooking. This tree commonly grows in European, Asian and African countries. In Turkey it is indigenous to Tokat, Amasya, Çorum, and Mardin’s mountain slopes and calcareous lands. With its white flowers, Prunus mahaleb is also known in Turkey as the Idris tree, endirez, endürüz, keniro (in Diyarbakır), and fragrant or wild cherry tree. Its bark also has a pretty fragrance. Mahlep is obtained from the tree by grinding the seeds of the its cherry-like fruit.
My Aunt lives in Chilli in South America, and she loves mahlep “çatal çörek.” When my mother and I go to visit her, it’s the first thing she asks us to bring from Turkey. It’s a way for my aunt to fulfill her longing for her hometown. Of course since she’s so far away we don’t have the opportunity to visit her that often, and she prefers to make them at home. So today I will share with you the recipe for “mahlepli çatal çörek,” a treat that has begun to disappear from bakery shelves and be forgotten.
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 1 kg flour
- 25g salt
- 50g yeast
- 600g margarine
- 3 eggs
- 50g mahlep
- ½ Turkish tea glass water
- 2 egg yolks
- 50g sesame seeds
- 50g black sesame seeds
- In a large container mix together the margarine and whole eggs until well blended.
- Put the yeast in a bowl and add the water.
- Next, add the wet yeast to the egg and margarine and mix together.
- Add in order flour, mahlep, and salt, stirring after each addition. Make sure to mix in each ingredient before adding the next one.
- When the mixture has taken on a doughy consistency, divide it into 4 equal pieces (250g).
- Shape the dough into a fork shape and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- When all four pastries are ready, brush egg yolk on each one.
- After brushing egg yolk on them, use a fork to draw lines on them. This way you will have a nice presentation as well as a delicious taste.
- Before putting them in the oven, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top.
- Finally, bake at 160oC for 15 minutes, and serve warm.
This post is also available in: Turkish