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General

Ispanaklı Pasta

In Turkish, a distinction is made between two different kinds of cake: “kek” and “pasta.” The moment cream finds its way into a “kek”, it becomes a “pasta”. In many other languages, including English, this distinction does not exist. Today we are going to look at one such “pasta.”

You take conventional ingredients for a cake – eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla sugar, margarine, baking powder, milk, spinach, etc. Combine that with an irresistible baker from Istanbul who makes us the green “pasta.” Hold on – spinach?

Yes, spinach! The green leaves, which resemble a fox’s tail, don’t just give the cake a beautiful green colour, but they’re also really good for you! Spinach contains beta carotenes that are a rich in vitamin A, which is good for the body and especially for the eyes. Just one portion of spinach (the cake contains roughly this amount) covers the entire required daily intake of beta carotenes and vitamin K, as well as almost the entire required intake of fibre and 50 per cent of the required intake of magnesium.

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Spinach and cake – how does that work?

This is a good question that we will be exploring with Özgür Özçakmak today. Istanbul-born Özçakmak is a graduate of the Bilgi University for European Union Studies and has spent several years producing mobile English theatre. Outside of his work, cooking and baking are indispensable and enjoyable pastimes that bring happiness to his friends and family alike. Having the privilege to photograph and then eat these Turkish delicacies certainly brings me happiness, too.

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Özgur’s recipe for the spinach cake is a mish-mash of anne’s secret recipe and some tips from the Internet.

Have a look at the recipe below!

Zutaten

Ingredients:

For the base
3 eggs, 1.5 cups sugar, 1.5 cups water, half a glass of milk, 2 cups filled with spinach, half a cup of sunflower oil, 1 small bowl of flour, 1 packet of baking powder, 1 packet of vanilla sugar, pistachios or chocolate sprinkles for decoration.

For the cream
250ml whipped cream and half a packet of whipped cream stabiliser

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Preparation

  1. Boil some water, then add washed spinach into the water and turn the cooker halfway down. Allow the spinach to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar (save a pinch of the vanilla sugar for the cream later) until frothy, then beat the milk and some sunflower oil together using a whisk.
  3. Sprinkle a mixture of flour and baking powder over a fine sieve into the dough and stir with a whisk.
  4. Finally, add the pureed spinach.
  5. Put the dough into a greased shape and bake the cake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes until the cake is light-brown from the outside.
  6. Beat together the whipped cream, the whipped cream stabiliser and a pinch of vanilla sugar. Put the ready-made cream in the fridge.
  7. After baking, leave the cake to cool well (otherwise you won’t have much left of the cream!). Once cooled, spread the cream over the cake. Per preference, serve over a bed of spinach leaves and garnish with chopped pistachios, spinach leaves or chocolate sprinkles. And you’re done!

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What other Turkish delicacies are there that are made of spinach?

Combined together, spinach and peynir (white cheese) is definitely one of the most popular börek fillings you can find at any given börekçi (a börek shop), alongside ground meat böreks. Of course, a good spinach köfte with egg, served at canteen-like lokantas, are not to be outdone.

Afiyet olsun! (Bon appetit!)

 

Baker: Özgür Özçakmak
Translation: Kerim Onur Hassan

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