Highly Addictive Pastries
Shor Gogal is a famous, savory layered bun with spiced filling made with turmeric, cumin, fennel seeds, and butter. This Azerbaijani pastry is traditional for the spring holiday Novruz.
Layers, Spirals, and Knots
There are variations for the dough, filling, and shaping methods for these buns. After experimenting with several recipes, I found the one I like the most for the balance of flavors and beautiful, thin, delicate layers of soft dough.
For the Baku version, the layered dough is rolled, sliced to ~2″ thick cylinders, which are flattened with a palm of your hand to make spiraled buns. Since the layers are open to the hot air while baking, spiral buns are drier and crunchier. Knotted buns can be made with thinner layers and yet be softer when cooked.
Butter and Oil
In this version, I combine avocado oil with butter to make layers more distinguished. Good butter adds more flavor, but it contains some water, which is not suitable for laminating the dough. A combination of neutrally flavored oil and butter is a solution. Using a spray makes the process faster and easier.
Spices and Aromatics
This recipe combination of spices and aromatics originates from the Baku version. Be careful with the type of cumin — it should be Jeera, tiny dark seeds available at Indian grocery stores. They have a slightly different flavor. For better results, start with whole seeds, roast and grind them right before adding them to the stuffing. I add some flour to the roasted seeds before grinding to create volume and to make sure they grind to a powder.
If you don’t care for spices or don’t have them handy, try a combination of salt, pepper, and dry herbs (e.g., parsley, dill, thyme, tarragon, wild garlic, etc.).
The sweet layered Azerbaijani pastries are Shirin Gogal and Badambura.