This beauty is another of the Caspian Sea region’s contributions to Persian cuisine. Not only is this pastry unique to this region, but also the two provinces that border the Sea – Gilan and Mazandaran – each have their own versions. Though a walnut paste is the most common filling, possible alternatives include dates, bananas and coconut.
The city of Fuman in Gilan province offers us this pastry in which yeast, milk, yogurt and butter are used to create a tender Brioche-like texture. In Mazandaran province, the pastry is more like a flaky shortbread.
My main experience with Koloucheh has been the Mazandaran variety. On every trip back to Tehran from the Caspian Sea, we would stop at the city of Amol in Mazandaran province and load up on a few boxes with 4 servings of the Koloucheh per box!
So today I ventured out to explore and research the recipe for the Gilani style of Koloucheh, and this is what I came up with. And I am in love with it! Still, I will maintain my loyalty to the Mazandarani style, which I will be adding to the blog when I finish eating this batch!
Koloucheh – Fuman style
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk, close to room temperature
- 1/4 cup whole fat yogurt, close to room temperature
- 1/4 butter, gently melted
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, up to 1/2 cup more as needed for kneading and shaping the pastry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 cup walnuts
- 4-5 tablespoons rosewater
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron, ground
- In a large mixing bowl combine the yeast, water and sugar and mix well and allow to sit for about 10 minutes for the yeast to get activated.
- Add the egg, milk, yogurt and melted butter and mix well with a whisk.
- Add one cup of the flour and mix well with a spatula. Gradually add the second cup of flour and switch to using your hand to bring the dough together.
- Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. Add a little more flour if needed.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased wide bowl and turn over to make sure all sides of the dough are lightly covered with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough should have doubled in size by this time.
- While the dough rises, prepare the filling by placing all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until you have a creamy walnut paste. Remove from the food processor and divide into 10 equal pieces.
- Once the dough has sufficiently risen, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a log about 10 inches long. Cut the dough log into 10 pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare the glaze by combining the egg yolk, milk and saffron. Whisk to dissolve the saffron into the mixture. Set aside.
- Shape each piece of dough into a ball and press it out to a flat round disc, about the size of your palm.
- Place the filling in the center of the disc and bring the edges together by pinching and twisting the edges to secure the filling. Place the pinched side on the counter and gently flatten the stuffed dough by pressing the palm of your hand on top of the pastry.
- Place 5 pastry buns on the baking sheet, leaving 1-2 inches of space to allow for pastry to rise and expand.
- Using a round cookie cutter, make decorative indentations on the surface of the pastry, pushing down gently to break through the top surface.
- Thoroughly brush the surface of each pastry with the egg wash.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry has slightly risen and turned golden.
- Remove from the baking sheet and set aside to cool. Bake the remainder of the pastry buns.
- Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Serve Koloucheh with a hot cup of Persian tea or with a cold glass of milk.
- As always I prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. However, all-purpose flour will work just fine.
- After brushing the top surface with the egg wash, you can sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds for a more decorative look.
- The decoration and design are the signature trademarks of the Fuman style Koloucheh. The decorative stamps can be purchased online.