A weird few days passed by us, over here. I’d looked forward to Halloween for a while now, but last Friday, events back home brought on an atmosphere of a completely different kind. We stuck closer to home, hugged more often, played with the kiddo and even turned homework in the best game ever. And we baked, often, from breads to cakes and breads again. And several rounds of nibbles as we turned to food for comfort. It felt good to have our hands busy, lest our hearts start bleeding tears.
One version or another, bouikos may be found in many countries in Eastern Europe. I’ve had them while living in Poland, up in the north east, close to the Lithuanian border. And my grandfather made some really flaky, gorgeous ones when I was a kid, although he used lard, hard cheese called cascaval and crumbly telemea that are typical for Romania. Honey and Co’s Food from the Middle East has a recipe for bouikos too, and that’s what made me think of them. A good, strong cheddar definitely works as a substitute for cascaval. Feta works instead of telemea too, though the cheese from home is tangier and saltier than what I can buy in London. Both substitutes do a fabulous job though, they absolutely do.
Honey and Co’s recipe also called for spring onions though and with such a short baking time, I wasn’t sure I’d like half baked onions in my bites – I do encourage you to try it if it floats your boat, totally. In fact, I’d say there are probably tens of flavour combinations you can try and love too. What are you waiting for?
For bouikos to feed 4 people, or maybe just enough for 2 greedy ones, you’ll need:
100g plain or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon fresh herbs (I used thyme, but chives or oregano would work nicely too)
50g cold butter, cubed in small dices
40g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
40g feta cheese, crumbled
75g greek full fat yoghurt
Preheat oven at 200C.
Cover a baking sheet in baking paper.
Combine all dry ingredients and the herbs in a bowl.
Add the 2 cheeses, the yoghurt and the butter and mix together, either with your fingers or with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer. Don’t worry if butter doesn’t combine fully – you want the moisture in the pastry as it bakes.
Turn pastry dough onto a floured surface and flatten out in a rough rectangle.
With a sharp knife, cut into the shape of your choice – I did diamonds, but biscuit-like circles, squares or triangles work just as well.
Arrange on top of baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, turning once mid-way through for an even bake.
Lower the oven temp to 180C and bake for 5 more minutes.
Probably needless to say, try to eat them the same day. (You knew this already, right? :))