Around this time of year I usually get nostalgic about old fashioned type of food which my mother used to make when I was a child. Yufka is one of them. It is an Albanian traditional type of pasta made of eggs, flour and milk.
Way back in my childhood it was sort of a tradition in almost every household to prepare for the winter by making all sorts of jams, fruit syrups, pickling and, of course, plenty of yufka. I remember my mother cracking up to 100 eggs and inviting her friend or a relative to help her roll out more than a hundred circular sheets of dough, which by the end of a sunny day would turn to a flaky pieces of pasta. I still recall the memory of our sunny yard being covered in tablecloths where my mother used to lay out the freshly rolled out yufkas cut into long thin strips. Sometimes I used to help her during this process, and I always thought that one day I will gain the skills to undertake this task and make yufka all by myself.
Unfortunately, I never had time to master the process and as a result I did not make or taste yufka for years until recently.
Even though quite old, my mother still had the desire and strength to roll the pin so the other day she made a small batch of yufka for me. As soon as they dried out I cooked a batch and, because they turned soooo pretty after drying out, I showcased them in glass vases and jars and displayed them in my kitchen.
This type of pasta is different from Italian pasta. When cooked they do not turn springy and al dente, instead they turn soft and sort of flabby, but when mixed with butter and plenty of feta cheese crumbs they taste heavenly good.
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon coarse salt
10 cups flour
In a mixing bowl, mix together eggs, milk and salt. Add flour and mix it thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Transfer the dough in a flat working surface and knead it with your hands. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when the dough starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Let the dough stand for about an hour or two and then divide it into 12-15 small pieces. Using a long and thin rolling pin start rolling each small piece of dough into a circular shape until you reach a desirable yufka thinness. Place the yufka in a flat surface and let it stand until it dries out a bit and then using a pizza cutter or a knife cut them out in long strips and give them a desired shape. Let them dry completely in sun, and store them in cotton or paper bags.
Enjoy them cooked with butter, fresh cream and sprinkled with plenty of feta cheese crumbs.
Do you have a specific dish or type of food that recalls your childhood memories? I would love to hear your story.
Thank you for reading.