Savory Baking from the Mediterranean NPR coverage of Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, And Other Breads by Anissa Helou. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
NPR logo Savory Baking from the Mediterranean

Savory Baking from the Mediterranean

Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, And Other Breads

by Anissa Helou

Hardcover, 339 pages, Harpercollins, List Price: $29.95 |


Buy Featured Book

Savory Baking from the Mediterranean
Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, And Other Breads
Anissa Helou

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Book Summary

A volume of more than 130 recipes for breads and savory pastries evinces the baking traditions of the Mediterranean and includes such options as French Bacon Bread, Greek Spinach and Olive Bread, and Italian Nut Bread. By the author of Mediterranean Street Food.

Read an excerpt of this book

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Savory Baking From The Mediterranean

Savory Baking from the Mediterranean

Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Anissa Helou
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060542191

Greek Cheese Triangles


Serves 6

These little cheese pies or pasties are popular in much of Greece, so much so that they are widely available in big frozen packages. Freshly made ones are better, of course, and are not much trouble to prepare.


2 cups crumbled feta cheese (about 7 ounces)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine kosher salt or sea salt, if needed
2 medium eggs, beaten
6 11 by 18-inch sheets phyllo pastry, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted


1. Combine the feta, parsley, nutmeg, and pepper in a large bowl. Add salt to taste, if needed; there may be enough salt in the feta already. Stir in the eggs.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the long half of a phyllo sheet with melted butter. Fold the plain half over the buttered one. Place 2½ to 3 tablespoons filling near one end of the folded sheet. Fold the end of the pastry over the filling to make a triangle shape. Brush the top of the remaining, unfolded pastry with butter and continue folding along the sheet, keeping to the triangle shape, until the sheet is completely folded and the filling is completely enclosed in the pastry. Trim any loose ends with a sharp knife. Brush the triangle on all sides with butter and place, loose side down, on a nonstick baking sheet, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pastry mat. Make the remaining triangles in the same way.

3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the triangles are crisp and golden. Serve hot or warm.

Large Italian Crescents


Serves 4

A calzone is basically a covered pizza. Most of the time, calzones are made as small or medium individual crescents. But calzones can also be made large, for sharing, as in this recipe. I rather like the generous size of the large calzones; and it is far quicker to make just two rather than four, six, or more. Here I recommend making the calzones with Italian bread dough, but you can also use the pizza dough on page 42.


½ cup diced salami (about 3 ounces)
¾ cup fresh ricotta, mashed with a fork
½ cup diced fresh mozzarella (about 3 ounces)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1⁄2 ounce)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe dough for Regular Italian Bread, page 119, through step 4
1 medium egg

Instructions:1. Combine the salami, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Set aside.2. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured work surface to a large circle about ¼ inch thick. Spread half the filling on one half of each circle to about 1 inch from the edge. Fold the uncovered half of the dough over the filling. Pinch with fingers to seal and flute the edges.3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Carefully transfer the calzones to a nonstick baking sheet, or to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pastry mat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.4. Uncover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp and golden all over. Serve immediately.