Pide can be as simple as a flatbread sprinkled with sesame seeds, or an elaborate, baguette-shaped affair enclosing a spicy filling, but the kind that is best loved on Turkey’s Black Sea coast is boat-shaped, its edges folded around a topping that might be meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs—or all of the above. The Ottomans made breads and pastries that were forerunners to this pizza-like version of pide, which is thought to have started winning fans in the early 20th century, a relative latecomer by Turkish standards.
One story has it that when ingredients were scarce in Turkey’s hardscrabble years after World War I, canny bakers made the most of the little they had by arranging meat or vegetables on top of pides. They folded the edges into the characteristic seagoing shape to ensure none of the precious toppings fell overboard while being baked in a wood-fired oven. Today, pides are found for sale wherever there’s
a Turkish community. A takeaway favourite, they’re even better fresh from the oven at home.
Our pide’s passenger for this recipe is a simple, aromatic blend of well-seasoned minced lamb spiked with cinnamon. Once you’ve mastered it, it’s worth trying other toppings; perhaps blanched silverbeet with marinated feta, or you could simply brush a freshly baked plain pide with melted butter, Black Sea-style. Then add a generous lick of biber salçasi from the TMix+ summer/autumn issue and drape with thinly sliced cured meat—ideally Turkish pastirma, but prosciutto or capocollo will work too. Experiment with whatever floats your boat.