Feta and Zaa’tar Twists

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One of my favorite things to do in recipe development is fusing different cultural cuisines. Indeed, little can go wrong when combining two world famous culinary traditions. This recipe consists of Palestinian flavors with a delightfully French twist. Crispy, tangy, and loaded with Mediterranean goodness, these zaa’tar and feta twists will quickly become an all-time favorite. Zaa’tar, a combination of thyme, sumac, oregano, and sesame seeds, has been long revered in Middle Eastern cultures for its positive effect on intelligence and learning. Recent studies have confirmed this correlation. Paired with the rich and tangy flavors of feta, olive oil, and cherry tomatoes, healthy foods have never been so good.

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INGREDIENTS/ MAKES 12 TWISTS

1 sheet puff pastry
2 cups or 220g feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup or about 35g zaa’tar (see notes for substitute)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
flour for dusting

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F
2. In a bowl, combine zaa’tar, feta, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, oregano, and tomatoes.
3. On a dusted surface, roll out your puff pastry until it forms a rectangle of about 10 by 12 inches. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil combined.
4. Spread your feta and zaa’tar mix over the bottom half of the dough. Fold the top of the puff pastry over bottom half to cover the mixture. Lightly roll the pastry with a rolling pin to seal the dough and mixture ingredients together.
5. With a dusted knife, cut the dough vertically to make 12 strips or so. Make sure that the strips are not too wide as they will be easier to twist if they are thinner.
6. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, twist each strip about 3 times and press the ends down on the sheet.
7. Brush your egg wash over each strip.
8. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.

NOTES

1. Zaa’tar is available in most Middle Eastern food stores. If you are unable to find it, prepare a similar mix at home by combining thyme, oregano, sumac, and sesame seeds.
2. If you find the feta cheese to be too salty for your taste, cut into cubes and leave to soak in cold water for about an hour or until the salt level is favorable. Keep in mind that this recipe does not require additional salt.
3. Leave the puff pastry to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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