Turkish Pide is the country's answer to pizza, It's one of my favourite take-out foods and one of my most eaten foods when I visited Turkey. Pide comes in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, flavours and textures. It's enjoyed all across Turkey, each region offering local specialities - all mouthwateringly delicious! They differ in shape to a pizza, in that they are generally long and thin; the toppings are then placed and the edges of the bread are folded inwards and pinched at the top and bottom to create a boat-like shape. In turkey, the length of some pide verges on ridiculous. Back at home, I am limited by what I can fit on my baking sheet and oven. Sad face.
Which came first, pizza or pide?
As Turkish legend would have us believe, Italian Pizza was created after Sultan Mehmet took control of Sicily in 1480. A local Italian baker saw Turkish Soldiers eating Pide and asked how it was made. He then took off to Napoli and created his own version - the version we know today. However, given that the first tomato didn't arrive arrive in Italy until 1548 - it seems Turkey may have been a little creative with the truth.
Like Pizza, pide is an all-in-one feast, succulent toppings, cheeses and meats and you get to eat the plate! Couldn't be better.
I used to live around the corner to a fantastic Turkish takeaway in Sydney and pretty much every Friday, would order one or two pide for dinner. We'd always order the same thing too, a vegetarian spinach & cheese, adorned with a perfectly just-set egg on top, and a pide scattered with meaty Turkish suçuk (cured beef sausage). It's impossible to say which I like best, so I always make both!
Save time, use pizza dough.
To save time making mine at home, I use a fresh store bought pizza dough. It really cuts down all the fuss and waiting time. Feel free to make your own bread dough by all means. The packet bought doughs are great these days and the results are very authentic. My recipe shows you how to create both the vegetarian cheese & spinach pide and the suçuk versions at home and uses cheeses easily available to all. If you are interested in creating super authentic flavours, use a combo of Turkish Kaşar and Beyaz Peynir cheeses. Mozzarella and feta are a perfect substitute. For the vegetarian version, the jewel in the crown for me must be the egg - I love how it barely sets and becomes a yolky topping, spread across the surface. It's heaven!
If you're looking for something else to cook with pizza dough that isn't a pizza, give my Za'atar Bread with Beef & Shangleesh a try or for more dishes using the flavourful suçuk sausage try my recipes for Turkish Suçuk with Eggs or Turkish Suçuk & Chickpea Soup.