Now that both my proof-eaters approved I can self-confidently announce I mastered the ketmer in the first go. Big thanks to Honey & Co. for their easy-to-follow recipe and demonstrative instagram tutorial. The only downside of this recipe is it wasn’t published in the printed version of the FT Weekend as its recipes have always been. Hopefully not everything is moving online. Shoot me, I’m an obvious dinosaur, but I still prefer my newspaper on, well, yes, paper. So I had to patiently search the web to find a reliable link that provided unobstructed access (see bottom).
Anyway, ketmer it is. Never heard of it before. But since I’m a big fan of all things Mediterranean (and/or of Mid-eastern cuisine in particular) I found it very possibly likeable. It turned out to be a very attractive Turkish sweet pastry. Well, there’s one little detail that I do find a bit confusing for the Turkish dessert. Namely, mascarpone is one of the main players in this recipe and as far as I’m concerned mascarpone is definitely an Italian affair. But what do I know. Note to self: check Google about that. (See note.)
I followed the recipe to the last full stop. Nevertheless, I just couldn’t help but add some mahleb as I simply love its aroma. I mixed a tip of the knife amount to the ground pistachio. You can easily do without it though. My only regret is the non-existence of really thin filo pastry anywhere near me. I mean, it’s not a proper regret just a lament of sorts. The filo pastry that’s sold at our farmers’ market is wonderful for strudel or samosas or regular baklava but it’s maybe a couple of microns too thick for ketmer. The end result was spectacular nevertheless.
The mahleb aroma always transports me back to our visit to Casablanca, Morocco years ago. The minute we stepped out of the taxi in front of the grand buildings surrounding the I-can’t-remember-the-name-of-the-square we were exposed to that fantastically rich smell of pastries. We followed the sweet perfume and there it was, the pastry shop, hidden in an arcaded hallway. We felt as if we had entered a fairy tale. Those were high-ceilinged chambers of delight: every surface was covered to the last inch with immense baking sheets, all of them laden with myriad of bite-size pastries of different shapes and colours, half-moons, macaroons, golden, of almonds, honey, pistachio, rose water, dates, name it, all exquisitely delicate and giving off the densest perfume I imagine the Scheherazade’s kitchen in One Thousand and One Night to smell (if she ever had one). There were hundreds of them and each rare visitor went crazy by choice. We selected quite a few boxes to bring home as presents (before the strict baggage allowance regulations, ah the times) and if my memory serves me right we hadn’t given them all out but kept most of them selfishly to ourselves.
Same with ketmer: I shared a couple, the rest I devoured all by myself. I had it for breakfast, after lunch, instead of dinner. Had I made more I would’ve been in serious trouble, they were so addictive. Plus, the rhubarb was the best possible companion (although I’m still not quite sure about the improvement of it being baked instead of poached).
Note: next time I’m doing it with kajmak/kaymak. Will report.
Had I been a professional it would’ve looked like this:
Honey & Co. recipe in FT Weekend safest access (hopefully)
Ketmer or katmer? Both.
Obviously no need to bother with coiling, flat does it too although the visual appeal is lost
I knew it! Of course it’s Italian.