The Wonder Pastry Katmer

The pastry has been the indispensable material of Turkish cuisine and palatal delight since Central Asia. One of the rich pastry varieties of our kitchen is katmer.

One of the rich pastry varieties of our kitchen is katmer.  Katmer, the source of energy, that maintains its freshness for a long time, has a wide variety that we cannot find at any other food today. Katmer, which is known as ‘’katlama’’ or ‘’kattama’’ in Central Asia, is mostly made by buttering between the dough which is spread in layer by layer and baking in the oven. In Anatolia on the other hand, katmer indicates diversity due to blended with fertile soils, varied climate, and regional agricultural products. Such that while katmer is made with poppy seeds in Afyon, Uşak, and Kütahya, it is mostly made with salty pastry in the Aegean region. It appears as a dessert in Antep, Hatay, Kilis, and Urfa regions. Differently in Eastern Anatolia and Central Anatolia the recipe of katmer known also as ‘’Sivas katmeri’’, similar to ‘’katlama’’ of Central Asia, made of dough and butter is widespread.   As a result, we can say that there is no specific region or geography to which the katmer belongs. From Central Asia to the Balkans, it enriches the tables with different tastes and recipes.

The most classic implementation of the Katmer is the Sivas katmer, which is actually the most widely known and consumed recipe. It is frequently made in  Eastern Anatolia and Central Anatolia, especially in Sivas. It used to be prepared as a snack or carry out at ‘’tandır days’’ which bread was cooked in the villages collectively. Today, it mostly consumed as breakfast food or snack. Milk is added while preparing its dough.  After the dough obtained in soft consistency is spread with a rolling pin, it is folded into one within the other by buttering on all layers; after that, it is put in the oven by spreading again with the help of again rolling pin. It should be added that the most varieties are seen as well as in the Aegean region, mostly the katmer is salty. In addition to the salty katmer, it is possible to find varieties such as with tahini (tahin), cheese, egg, and vegetables. Salty katmer is the plainest type of katmer.  It is the most common type of katmer, since it is more practical to prepare both dough and simple and easy to cook. Generally, the common characteristic of the katmer species is the use of milk or yogurt together with water in the dough. However, the salty katmer dough is made only with water.  In Urla, katmer is made more like gözleme(pancake) and it is enriched with different types of cheese, vegetables, and eggs.

Common Taste of Turkey
In provinces like Kütahya, Afyon, Isparta, and Burdur, katmer with a poppy is more favorable.  Poppy used in the pharmaceutical industry is an important agricultural product for this region.  After making putty by adding water to the crushed poppy seed, it is poured to between folded katmer layers. Together with butter poppy gives a good flavor to katmer. Unfortunately, you have a very low chance to find a katmer with poppy unlike other types of katmer in a cafe or restaurant. It is mostly consumed in houses as breakfast or snack.

Now, let’s talk about the most delicious of the katmer; Antep katmer. It is the hardest katmer type to prepare. Spreading its dough requires a unique mastery. The dough spread very thin just like baklava wafer, is put into the oven after the semolina cream with milk as filling ingredient, granulated sugar, and pistachio powder are sprinkled before folded like an envelope. Butter is spread on it slightly. Actually, katmer is sweet in Hatay, Antep, Kilis, and relatively Urfa provinces and it is an indispensable member of the breakfast table for the local people. Katmer has a special place especially in the tradition and life of people of Antep. In Antep katmer is treated to the grooms in the morning after the wedding night.  According to this tradition, katmer is prepared in a special tray in the morning after the wedding night for the groom. Thanks to this ritual, if you happen to go Antep where the most delicious katmers are made in, you will see that in the city in many breakfast makers and restaurants it is so easy to find katmer.  Gaziantep city is now a world brand in the field of gastronomy.  Antep katmer can be found in Istanbul and many cities from now on thanks to the restaurants of Antep origin.

Finally, we have to mention about the katmer which is sweet and cheesy made around Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see any restaurant outside offering cheesy katmer of Urfa and Adıyaman. It is usually prepared at home as again breakfast food and snack. The reason why the preparation and content of katmer in Anatolia shows a great diversity is that every region has specific climate and agricultural variety. This variety forms an elegant palatal delight by blending with traditions whose root based on centuries ago.

*This article was  published in the  May– June issue of Marmara Life.

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