Purslane and Thyme Pies – Flavors of Summer

Anita Appetizer, Breakfast, Greens, Herbs, Nuts, Pies, Vegetables, Vegetarian, What's Cooking 2 Comments

With temperatures soaring in the 90s and 100s here in NC for the last few weeks, cooking is somewhat out the window. Instead we’re opting for lots of salads, sandwiches and light vegetarian meals. The kids are splish splashing in their inflatable fun world and I’m trying to keep my herbs and tomato plants hydrated and alive.
Lebanese Summers in the mountains are quite different.  I remember waking up in the early cool morning, making my way down the narrow village road to my grandparents’ house where I would accompany my téta (grandmother) or uncle to pick fruits and vegetables from the terraced gardens near the house.  Many times, my téta would bring with her a light breakfast sandwich with labne (strained yogurt), olives and oregano thinking that I might get hungry, but I always munched on the fruits (apricots, pears, peaches) and vegetables (armenian cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, peas) that we were picking. 
 Purslane Close Up

Purslane is one leafy vegetable (or weeds as some might describe it) that we picked regularly. It grows non stop, like mint.  It makes tiny pods at the top of the sprigs which are filled with miniscule black seeds. Once the little pods dry up, they fall apart and all the seeds fall into the ground and it grows again and again and again. Its seeds have been found to survive for 40 years. Persistent little yummy thing! And it’s an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids,Vitamin A and makes a delicious snack.

Purslane and Thyme Pies
makes about 18-20 
Purslane Mixture
6 oz fresh purslane, washed and trimmed
1 cup onion, diced (I used Vidalia)
6 sprigs thyme, use all, discard only hard stems
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp sumac
1 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Trim the purslane by removing the think stalks, keeping the leaves and tender stalks. Wash well, let dry.  Dice onion and place in a bowl. Add sumac to the bowl and mix well, add all other ingredients and mix until all blended.
Basic Dough
3 1/2 cups whole grain flour
1 1/2 cups luke warm water (may vary based on altitude)
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Sift the flour in the mixer bowl, add salt, sugar and mix well. Bloom the yeast in 2 tablespoons of luke warm water. Add oil and yeast mix to flour and slowly start adding the water as you mix. Add water as needed to get all the flour incorporated well. Continue mixing until the edges of the mixer bowl are cleaned out (about 1 minute or 2). Test the dough with your finger. If too stiff or resistant, add a touch more water and mix again until all blended and bowl is cleaned again.
Place covered in a bowl to rise for one hour. Divide dough into 3 large balls and let rest again covered for 30 minutes before handling. Place a ball on a floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick, cut the dough in circles (I used 4″ cutter), place a heaping tablespoon of the purslane mixture in the center, fold over and seal edges shut.  Bake at 500ºF for approx. 8 minutes until dough is baked. Remove and serve warm or cold with a squeeze of lemon or plain yogurt.

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