I have a long history of spectacular bread making failures. There was the one where I was inspired to make my own sourdough starter, by the cool kids at E5 Bakehouse, only to have it explode all over my kitchen. Then the was the time I first used spelt, which looked amazing, but required hacksaw to cut a slice. But this hasn’t stopped me from trying again, and I’m happy about that, because it lead me to being a bit more comfortable in baking. Well sort of.
The one thing I lack in abundance in the kitchen is patience. If I have to rest something for 60 minutes, I’m more likely to poke it with a fork at 40 minutes. A ‘do not stir’ instruction certainly means I’ll be giving it a stir. You get the idea. It’s also April and that means it’s spring. So I fancied making something that tasted a little bit fresher than the stodgy winter food I’ve been consuming of late. Plus a recipe that allows me to poke, prod and not have to worry about doing too much, or too little.
Burnt Aubergine & Feta Flatbread (makes 6)
For the dough;
250g strong, white flour
5g instant yeast
5g flaked salt
150ml tepid water
For the filling;
1 medium sized aubergine
75g Greek Feta
Sprigs of thyme (optional)
Take a mixing bowl and add the salt, flour and the dried yeast. Then add the butter and the water. Mix with your hands to bring the mixture together. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour is mixed in. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. When the dough feels smooth and silky, place it back in the mixing bowl, cover it with a warm tea towel and leave it in a warm place to double in size while you get on with the filling.
Cut the aubergine length ways in half. Slash a criss-cross of cuts into the flesh, reaching almost down to the skin. Place skin side down in a baking tray. Brush over a little olive oil then bake at 200°C for 25 minutes or until completely soft. Remove from the oven and scrape the flesh out into a mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and stir in the chopped thyme leaves. Season to taste.
Tip the dough on to a floured surface, fold repeatedly until all the air is knocked out of it, then tear it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Make an small hollow in the middle of each ball of dough and put a heaped teaspoon of the aubergine mixture into the hollow. Pinch the dough over to seal. Do the same process again with the remaining 6 dough balls
Lightly flour your work surface and flatten a dough ball with a rolling pin into a disc about 16cm in diameter. Place the flatbreads onto a baking sheet in a warm place for 10 – 15 minutes. Now I know what you’re thinking “Hey, you said no waiting!”. Well it’s technically not waiting. You’ll need to look for your heavy-based frying pan, rub it very lightly with a little olive oil and bring up to a medium heat. That takes 15 minutes right!?
Place two or three flatbreads into the pan or straight onto a BBQ at a time and cook them for 3-4 minutes. Once they have started to brown, turn them over and cook the other side. Eat immediately.