Natashya of “Living in the Kitchen with Puppies” was the BBB Kitchen of the Month in May, and she asked us to bake Tunisian Spicy Breads. The hubby and I really love spicy meals, so I was pretty sure we’d love this bread. The whole procedure was easy-peasy. This is something you can whip up rather quickly.
I made only a half batch because I wasn’t sure how spicy the filling would be and whether the kids would like it at all, but I couldn’t detect any spicyness in the bread. So, next time I’d add some more chile peppers to the filling if I intend to make them for the hubby and myself, or, if the kids are meant to have some, too, I’d just use some more filling for each little bread. To sum it up, these are yummy little breads that remind me of Russian pirogi, and I can absolutely see me making them again. Btw, for sealing the edges I used a fork.
Tunisian Spicy Breads
(adapted from “Savory Baking from the Mediterranean” by Anissa Helou)
Makes 20-22 small breads
For the dough
- 3 1/3 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups fine semolina
- 1 1/2 tsp fine kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole egg
- All purpose flour for kneading and shaping
For the filling
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 small chile peppers, such as serranos, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp harissa
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Fine kosher salt or sea salt
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and stir until creamy.
- Combine the semolina and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the 1 1/2 Tbsps olive oil and the egg to the well. Gradually add the yeast and 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsps warm water, bringing in the semolina as you go along. Knead until you have a rough ball of dough.
- Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest while the filling is prepared.
- Make the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes, chopped peppers, harissa, and cayenne. Season with salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is soft and the sauce is very thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly floured work surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out one ball of dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2 inch pastry cutter, cut out as many circles of dough as possible and set aside. Briefly knead the extra dough together, and place under the plastic wrap, next to the other ball of dough. Turn the circles over and place 1 tsp of filling in the middle of half of the circles. Cover with the remaining plain circles and press on the edges to seal. Flatten the breads slightly by hand and pinch the edges to flatten further and seal well. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, or to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone pastry mat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Continue making the breads until the dough, including the scraps, is used up.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.