I'm delighted to announce that I received a publication date for "With A Good Eye" and guess what? It happens to be my birthday, so here's to August 18, 2024.
There are several foodies in "With A Good Eye": heroine Luna Levi loves donuts and anything homemade by anyone, Stephanie Baker (Luna's brother's girlfriend) uses her Middle Eastern and Yemenite cooking to keep her boyfriend close and to show affection to those she loves, and Luna's best friend Aiden Betel has mastered most of her grandmother's Moroccan cooking secrets and generously parcels out her meals and desserts.
Today I want to share Stephanie's favorite recipe.
Stephanie Baker's Yemenite Jachnun
If you Google Jachnun, some define it as a Yemenite bread and others call it a pastry dough. Stephanie will tell you that it's both. Baked on low heat overnight sometimes with lots of oil, though Stephanie prefers butter, and traditionally served with grated tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and a spicy dip called schug, it's often eat on Sabbath mornings, but can be enjoyed anytime. Make sure you have a crowd, though. Jachnun is a satisfyingly rich dish made for sharing.
Real jachnun is made in a deep pot that can stay overnight in the oven. Of course, Stephanie has her own authentic jachnun pot.
8 cups all-purpose white flour
1/4 cup regular white sugar
2.5 - 3 cups lukewarm water (if the weather is humid, use less water)
2 tbsp honey (you can also use date syrup also known as silan). As a Canadian, Stephanie often uses maple syrup
4 tsp kosher salt (Stephanie has used coarse Sea Salt or Fine Himalayan Pink salt when she's out of the kosher stuff)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of butter (at room temperature) or half a cup of butter and half a cup of ghee (clarified butter)
Oil for brushing (optional, you can use butter)
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add your choice of honey/date honey/maple syrup
Knead the dough or use hand mixer
Allow mixture to rest for ten minutes
Knead again and set aside for 60 minutes
Roll the dough into ten or twelve balls
Brush each ball with butter or ghee (you can also use oil, choose an oil with a flavor you enjoy, but not olive). Be charitable with this step, this is not a low-fat food.
Set aside for another ten minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 225 degrees (F)
Use oil or butter to grease your deep pot.
Add the dough and flatten each ball until you have two flattened layers of dough (with plenty of butter in the middle)
Cover and bake overnight
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