Asparagus Pide

These fluffy and lightly charred flatbreads are filled with melty cheese and tender asparagus, and topped with fresh herbs.

Asparagus Pide

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Active Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
Chill Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
15 hrs
6 servings

Pide, which originated in Turkey, is a chewy, airy flatbread that welcomes a variety of fillings. This version is topped with melty, tangy cheese; Aleppo pepper–spiced asparagus; and fresh herbs. You can find taze kaşar (a semi-hard cheese), ajvar (pepper and eggplant spread), and kaymak (thickened cream) at most Mediterranean or Middle Eastern markets.

When Loryn Nalic first visited the Balkans in 2013, it was to better understand her husband’s culture by meeting his parents and eating the food. Nalic and her husband, Edo, met while working in the food industry, and were thinking about starting a food truck. As she walked through Sarajevo and then Istanbul, she noted the effect the Ottoman Empire had on Bosnian food. When she came upon a pide stand in Istanbul, she stopped, entranced by the sight.  

“It was this canoe-shaped dough filled with meat or cheese but no sauce. It was life-changing,” she says. “The people at the stand kept feeding more and more of them into these wood-fired ovens. I kept going back for more, even long after I was full. I talked to them, and they welcomed me back to where they were shaping the dough. I was there for six hours that day, watching and learning what to look for, and helping out as I started to get the hang of it.”  

Once she got home to St. Louis, Nalic and her husband began making pide at home and on the wood-burning oven they bought for their food truck. One day, after making a traditional pide, she looked at the avjar and kaymak she had ready for another dish, spooned a little of each on top of her pide, and the pide that would make Balkan Treat Box famous in St. Louis among locals (including the city’s sizable Bosnian population) was born.

Nalic shapes the pide by hand, even since the food truck has begat a restaurant, with plans for a bakery to open as well. 

“Shaping the dough is the big thing,” she explains. “I always tell people to set up their oven like they are baking a pizza, with a baking stone or inverted sheet pan. Roll the dough into an oval, and top the center with your fillings. Then fold the dough around the sides into a canoe shape. You want those crispy points on each end.” She follows the edict she learned at the first pide stand, and doesn’t add sauce to the pide. “It does not work with sauce; the dough won’t hold its shape,” she notes.

Today, thousands of pide later, Nalic takes liberties with the fillings, using delicata squash in the fall, and in spring, the season’s fresh asparagus. Her pide is both an homage to the original and representative of their desire to have fun at the same time.

“It’s the dish that is the most representative of what we do — this perfect marriage of these cultures that are so close to each other,” she notes. “But it’s also something a little different, that we can call our own.” — Chandra Ram



  • 1 1/2 cups cold water

  • 1 3/4 ounces sourdough starter or poolish (about 3 tablespoons) (see Note)

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast (such as Fleischmann’s)

  • 4 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour (about 19 3/8 ounces), plus more for sprinkling and dusting

  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt


  • 12 1/2 ounces taze kaşar, kashkaval, or low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 4 1/4 ounces double-cream feta cheese (or regular feta stirred into 1 tablespoon heavy cream) (about 2/3 cup)

  • 1 3/4 pounds fresh asparagus spears (about 40 spears), trimmed and halved crosswise

  • 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Additional Ingredients

  • Semolina flour, for dusting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3/4 cup torn mixed fresh herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley, mint, and dill)

  • 3/4 cup mild ajvar (bell pepper and eggplant spread)

  • 3/4 cup kaymak, clotted cream, or sour cream

  • Grated lemon zest, for garnish


  1. Make the dough

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly sprinkle with bread flour; set aside. Beat 1 1/2 cups cold water, sourdough starter, and yeast with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. With mixer running on medium-low speed, gradually add bread flour and salt, beating until all dry ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until dough is smooth, elastic, and tacky, 7 to 8 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough evenly into 6 balls (about 5 3/4 ounces each), and arrange 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly dust dough balls with bread flour, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. (The dough will double in size and flatten slightly.)

  2. Make the filling

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Beat taze kaşar and feta with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Toss together asparagus pieces, garlic-infused olive oil, Aleppo pepper, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl until asparagus is evenly coated. Set aside.

  3. Preheat oven to 500°F with a baking steel or stone about 6 inches from heat. (Alternatively, preheat a pizza oven to medium-high for 10 minutes according to manufacturer’s instructions.)

  4. Roll the Dough

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Working with 1 dough ball at a time, remove dough from refrigerator, and transfer to a lightly floured (with bread flour) work surface. Roll dough into a 7- x 11-inch oval.

  5. Spread with Cheese

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Spread 1/3 cup cheese mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Gently fold 2 long edges of dough in and over cheese mixture, making sure not to press dough down.

  6. Shape Dough, and Add Asparagus

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Pinch corners to seal, creating a canoe shape. Arrange 12 to 14 asparagus halves diagonally on cheese. Brush crust with garlic-infused olive oil.

  7. Bake and Garnish

    Asparagus Pide

    Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

    Transfer pide to a semolina-dusted pizza peel or a rimless baking sheet. Slide pide directly onto hot baking steel. Immediately increase oven temperature to broil. Broil pide until top is lightly charred and bottom is golden brown, about 4 minutes, using peel to rotate pide 90 degrees halfway through baking time. (Alternatively, slide pide directly into preheated pizza oven. Cook until top edges are puffed and charred in spots and bottom has brown spots, 2 to 3 minutes, using peel to rotate pide 90 degrees every 20 to 30 seconds. Without removing pide from pizza oven, turn off oven. Cook pide until bottom is golden brown, about 45 seconds.) Remove pide from oven, and brush crust with some of the melted butter. Repeat process with remaining dough, filling, asparagus, oil, and melted butter, returning standard oven or pizza oven to temperature between batches.

  8. Top pide evenly with mixed fresh herbs. Dollop each with 2 tablespoons ajvar and 2 tablespoons kaymak. Garnish with lemon zest. Serve hot, brushing with extra olive oil, if desired.

To Make Ahead

Cheese filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.


To make a poolish, stir together 3/4 cup bread flour (about 3 1/4 ounces), 1/2 cup warm water (about 80°F) (4 ounces), and a pinch of active dry yeast (about 1/16 teaspoon) in a medium bowl. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel; let ferment at cool room temperature (about 65°F) until mixture increases 2 1/2 to 3 times in volume, about 12 hours.

Suggested Pairing

Herbal, bright Austrian white: 2021 Bründlmayer Kamptal Terrassen Grüner Veltliner

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