Before I tell you about the cheesy dream boat I made, I’d like to share this intense performance art song by The Shin (a Georgian band, as opposed to The Shins) that incorporates moves from “Thriller” and something called dabbing long before it became an ordeal.
There is also a tall-dark-and-handsome singing an ode to khachapuri, some excellent yelling, a sinister laugh, and a lot of fancy footwork. So take my advice, or don’t. But it’s pretty great.
On Sunday morning, I celebrated the visitation of my dear friend Amber by making Adjaruli Khachapuri (აჭარული ხაჭაპური), Georgian cheesebread. There are hundreds of variations of Khachapuri, set apart by size, shape, type of dough and/or cheeses used, spices and embellishments. It is Georgia’s national dish; famous in Russia, in many former USSR countries, as well as Armenia and Israel.
I first had Khachapuri at a lovely Georgian restaurant in Moscow called JonJoli (джонджоли) right off Tverskaya. I chose Adjaruli Khachapuri, the boat-shaped variety with a soft-baked “sunny” style egg, and that is what I set out to make this time.
For the filling, I used a fresh mozzarella ball, a tub of crumbled feta, and one brick of creamy havarti. Countless websites advise using mozzarella and feta combined with some sort of farmer’s cheese to replicate the distinct combination of cheese overseas we can not typically obtain in the States.
I chopped it all up, added red pepper flakes, white pepper, garlic powder, and an herb blend. Then I cracked two eggs and mixed it all together.
Regretfully, I did not feel like making my own dough from scratch and bought some puff pastry at the store instead. This gave it more of a Penovani-Khachapuri texture instead of dense Naan-like Adjaruli dough.
I hand-rolled the dough, curled the sides up into a lip, and tapered the edges. Then I placed both breads on a pizza stone lined with parchment before adding the filling.
Here is the tricky part. Brush a whisked egg over the bread to keep the puff pastry dough from drying out or breaking off. Bake the breads on 375F until the cheese bubbles and the bread turns light brown.
Remove from the oven temporarily, use a spoon to hollow a small well in the center of each bread, and carefully crack a raw egg into the well. Resume baking for about 10-15 minutes so that your egg whites begin to solidify, but do not let the egg bake completely.
The warm gooey egg center is perfect for dipping those toasty bread corners into.
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