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This is a compelling combination of flavors, delicious with Curried Chicken Salad which you'll find below.
2 cups of warm water
4 to 6 heaping tablespoons honey*
1 packet or scant tablespoon active dry yeast
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional but will help the pitas stay fresher longer)
2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder*
1 scant tablespoon salt
*The suggested amounts for these ingredients is fairly wide since you can make these flavors subtle or strong depending on taste.
Pour the water into a mixing bowl. Stir in the honey, yeast and about 2 cups of flour. Set aside and allow to work for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has expanded, mix in the oil, curry powder, salt and a further 3 1/2 cups of flour.
Kneading: Stir this together as well as you can in the bowl and then turn out onto a kneading surface where you've sprinkled the remainder of the flour. Knead the dough, adding enough more flour to keep it from sticking to you or the board, until it has really come together, about 2 or 3 minutes. Then give it a rest while you clean out and grease the bowl.
After this little rest, the flour will have better absorbed the moisture, the developing gluten will have relaxed, the dough will feel less lumpy and more cohesive. Continue kneading until the it's springy and smooth.
Rising: Shape the dough into a nice ball, place it in the greased bowl and turn it over so that the top has a thin film of grease on it. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the yeast go to work. While the yeast is busy, you can make fillings to go in the pitas when they're done.
Shaping: After the dough has doubled in bulk (when you can poke a finger in it and it doesn't bounce back at you), begin preheating your oven to a hot 500°F. Knock the dough down, knead out any stray bubbles and divide it into 8 (or 4 if you've make only half the recipe) pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each out into a circle about 7 inches in diameter. Place two each on a cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
Baking: After the circles have rested, place the baking sheet on the oven bottom (if you have a baking stone, place it on that), close the oven door and keep it shut for 2 minutes. It's this initial intense heat that begins to create the pocket. The outside of the dough bakes very quickly while the carbon dioxide bubbles inside expand and separate the top layer of the dough from the bottom.
After the initial 2 minutes, place the baking sheet on a rack higher up in the oven and continue baking for another 5 to 6 minutes. During this part of the baking process, the pitas should blow up like balloons.
Cooling: When they are done, remove the sheet from the oven and slide the pitas onto a cooling rack. As the gas inside them cools, they will deflate somewhat. Once they are completely cool, you can press the balance of the gas out of them so you can slide them into an airtight bag until they're ready to be cut in half and filled.
Nutrition information per serving (1 piece, 187 g): 439 cal, 7 g fat, 10 g protein, 71 g complex carbohydrates, 12 g sugar, 3 g dietary fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 736 mg sodium, 152 mg potassium, 4 mg iron, 173 mg calcium, 97 mg phosphorus.
Curried Chicken Salad
4 cups of chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces, cooked (quickly in a skillet) and chilled* In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, onion, celery, walnuts and grapes.
1/2 cup (or more) chopped onion or scallions
1/2 cup (or more) chopped celery
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts
1 cup (or more) of seedless grapes, halved (scissors again will do this quickly)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (start with the lesser amount and add to taste)
*Or use 4 cups of cut-up leftover roast chicken
In a smaller bowl, blend together the mayonnaise, parsley and curry powder. When you're happy with the combination of flavors, stir gently into the chicken mixture.
Serve in the Honey Curry Pita with lettuce.
Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe, 130 g): 330 cal, 25 g fat, 15 g protein, 7 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 49 mg cholesterol, 193 mg sodium, 227 mg potassium, 4 mg vitamin C, 1 mg iron, 26 mg calcium, 128 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 5, May-June 1992 issue.