For Christmas, discover this traditional recipe from eastern Romania
Traditionally prepared on Christmas Eve in Moldavia, in eastern Romania, this pie is a custom that has the meaning of gathering all the "fruits of the earth" on the table, such as cereals and seeds that can germinate at the following season.
Hemp was an important crop in the region and its appearance was made alongside honey and wheat. The ground seeds make a stuffing called julfa, which can also be used in other dishes as a substitute for soft cheese.
The usual number of layers is twelve, but feel free to experiment with fewer layers while practicing your technique.
- A salad bowl
- A mixer robot
- A cast iron skillet or adhesive
- 400 g (3 ¼ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 1 pinch of salt
For garnish :
- 250 g (2 cups) pumpkin seeds
- 250 g (2 cups) of hemp seeds peeled, plus extra for serving (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 125 ml (½ cup) hemp milk, any other non-dairy milk or water
For the syrup :
- 450 ml (1 ¾ cup) of water
- 125 g (½ generous cup) golden caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- juice and zest of one lemon
- You will need to count a rest time for your bread preparation of 30 minutes plus an entire night.
- 1 – Mix the flour, water and salt in a bowl and knead to obtain a stiff dough. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then knead again and let rest for another 15 minutes. Let stand overnight.
- 2 – Put your large cast iron (or non-stick) skillet over medium heat. Do not add oil.
- 3 – Divide your dough into 12 pieces of about 50g each. On a floured work surface, roll and stretch a ball to form a circle 25 cm in diameter (or as large as your mold). Continue to sprinkle a little flour on the top and bottom of the dough, so that you can roll it out and stretch it very thinly by hand. Lift it up and place it in the hot pan (don't worry if it loses its shape slightly) and cook for 3 minutes, then flip it over and cook the other side for another 3 minutes. It should have the texture of a thin, dry biscuit. Repeat the operation with the other balls of dough, rolling them and cooking them one by one. Stack them on a plate or cooling rack.
- 4 – To prepare the filling, grind the pumpkin seeds into a powder in a food processor. Add the hemp seeds and crush them together. Add the honey, then gradually add the milk or water, with the motor on medium speed, until the mixture reaches a soft and spreadable consistency. Put aside.
- 5 – To make the syrup, bring all the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Pour into a large, shallow dish large enough to fit one of the flatbreads.
- For assembling your tart
- 6- Dip a flattened loaf in the syrup for 30 seconds, then place it in a dish or a plate with a deep edge.
- Spread a thin layer of the filling on the flatbread.
Repeat with all the other buns, leaving the top one untouched. You can pour a little of the remaining syrup on top. Wrap the dish or plate in plastic wrap, then place a tray on top and press it down with something heavy. This will ensure the layers are pressed evenly (don't worry if they crack). Let sit for 24 hours, then cut into slices and serve.
You can serve it as is or save a few tablespoons of the filling to spread on top and sprinkle with some shelled hemp seeds.