For this month Milkica from Mimi’s Kingdom has challenged Daring Kitchen members to prepare traditional Serbian Katmer pie which originates from southern parts of Serbia. It is made with katmer dough, a very old and traditional type of puff pastry, prepared with lard [animal fat] which is much simpler than puff pastry. The pie can be prepared in several different ways – spiral, rolled or flat. Instead of lard, butter or oil like sunflower oil may be used.

The filling can be anything of your choice ranging from savory ones like cheese, meat, leeks, a combination of cheese and spinach or Swiss chard and even sweet ones like apple or pumpkin. For my Katmer pie, I used unsalted butter for the pastry which was easy to work with and resulted in a much flakier crust than I had hoped for. My filling was a combination of frozen spinach and ricotta cheese with bits of leftover chicken, carrot and sweet corn.

KATMER PIE

Ingredients:

For the Pie Dough

4 cups / 500g all-purpose (plain) flour

1 teaspoon kitchen salt, to taste

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups / 300 to 350ml warm water

2 to 3 tablespoons / 30 to 45g soft lard or butter

For the Pie Filling

2 cups / 500g soft cottage cheese or ricotta

1 pound / 500g Swiss chard or spinach

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt, to taste

Method:

  • Measure all purpose flour, warm water and salt. Put lard in a small bowl and leave on a warm place.
  • Mix all ingredients except for the lard in a glass or plastic bowl until you have a relatively soft dough.

  • Transfer the dough on a floured surface and knead it a little until you achieve elastic, but soft dough.
  • Divide dough in six equal pieces and shape every piece in round form. Leave them to rest 10 minutes.

  • Using rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a flat, round shape of approximately 3 to 4mm thick.
  • Divide pieces in two groups of three. Brush first piece with melted lard and cover with another piece.

  • Brush second piece with lard and cover with third piece. Do not brush third piece of dough with lard.
  • Repeat the same steps with another three pieces of dough and you will have two piles of dough pieces.

  • Leave them to rest for 10 minutes. Roll every pile using rolling pin into round shape, 5 to 8mm thick.
  • Using a sharp knife, make eight cuts around the formed circle. Brush the surface with the melted lard.

  • Fold the brushed, cut petals into middle part of dough circle. Continue until you fold all eight of them.
  • Turn dough so the folded parts are neatly tucked underneath. Do the same with another pile of dough.

  • Leave both pieces of dough to rest till you prepare the filling. For the filling, cut Swiss chard into strips.
  • Place it in big bowl. Add eggs, salt and cheese and mix all ingredients using a spoon. Set mixture aside.

  • Turn on oven on 350°F/ 180°C/ Gas Mark 4. Roll one of the pieces of dough on lightly floured surface.
  • Roll into large, square or rectangular shape to fit baking tin. Transfer one layer of dough on baking tin.

  • Arrange your filling all over the first layer of dough. Roll out other piece of dough and transfer to tin.
  • It should cover the filling completely. Press edges to stick together. Brush the surface with melted lard.

  • Cut whole pie into small square pieces. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes till deep golden.
  • Whole, prebaked pie can be frozen for up to two months. Baked pie is best warm, fresh from the oven.

Daring Bakers February Challenge