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Khachapuri (Cheese Pie)

6 Servings
DOUGH ==========================
4 c flour
1 t salt
1 egg,beaten
7 T corn oil
1 c water
1 lb feta cheese (georgian
-brindza) wate,r, cold
1/2 lb farmer cheese
1 egg,beaten
RED BEAN FILLING ===============
1 lb dried red beans water,cold
1 bay leaf
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t hot chili flakes
1 t salt

1. Prepare dough by mixing together all of its ingreds except for 5 tbs oil. Knead for 5 mins, dusting dough liberally w/flour so that it can handled easily. Divide dough into 6 equal parts. Knead them for several moments, roll each part into a ball, and flatten slightly to give a bun shape. Set aside in a warm spot, covered w/plastic bag for 1/2 hr.
2. Cover feta cheese w/cold water for 15 mins, then drain well to remove excess salt. This step is only necessary if you object to the salt. Process both cheese & egg into a smooth puree. Set side.
3. Roll out one of dough buns on a floured board to a thin pancake of abt 12-inches in diameter. Lift pancake in air & stretch it out by lifting & turning; weight of dough will stretch it out to paper-thin sheet. It can also be stretch out strudel style by pulling it over backs of hands. The soft dough will stretch to 30-inches in diameter. It does not matter that there may a few small tears in sheet.
4. Lay thin dough sheet on board & sprinkle abt 2 ts of remaining oil over entire surface, splashing it on w/ finger tips, Georgian style. Fold nearest & farthest sides toward center to shape a rectangle 6 x 8 inches. Once again fold over left & right sides to center. Sprinkle this surface w/a few drops of oil.
5. Place abt 2/3 c cheese mixture in center of dough rectangle & spread it out to w/in 2-" of edges all around. Fold rectangle, envelope-style, by taking each of 4 ends & firmly pushing them one by one into center of pie. Pinch together open spaces so cheese is sealed inside. Very lightly brush pie surface w/oil. Continue w/remaining pastry sheets & cheese filling.
6. Bake in preheated 350F. oven for 40 mins, or until top is light brown. Remove & serve warm for breakfast, snack time, or lunch. NOTE: The stuffed pies can be refrigerated before baking for 3 days and taken out when wanted. Cover each pie w/plastic bag to retain freshness before baking.
VARIATIONS: 1. For a variation of cheese filling, use 1 lb mozzarella & 1/2 pound of farmer cheese. Process to a smooth puree with one egg. The purpose in selection of cheese is to duplicate the authentic Georgian cheese known as "suluguny. It is not available in Untied States although one Georgian cook told me that it resembles Middle East string cheese.
2. Another traditional stuffing of this typically Jewish-style stuffed khachapuri is prepared w/dried red beans (lobio). RED BEAN FILLING: 1. Cover beans w/cold water & soak them overnight.
The next day cook them w/bay leaf until soft, abt 1 hr over low heat. At the end of cooking, water should be completely evaporated. Remove the bay leaf & stir in pepper, chili flakes & salt.
2. Process beans to a smooth puree. (My teacher mashed beans w/old fashioned potato masher, then completed chore by squeezing and stirring w/her hand.) Stuff pie w/abt 2/3 cup of bean puree, using same system as for cheese filling. Bake as directed.
NOTE: Mashed red bean puree is also prepared as a Georgian breakfast.
Soaking, cooking, seasoning are carried out just as for khachapuri stuffing.

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