What’s our favorite food here in Moldova? That’s easy: Placinte (plah-chin-teh), the soft, savory, mouth-watering pastries stuffed with cabbage, potatoes, apples, cherries or other delights.
We especially enjoy placinte made with brinza, the traditional cheese usually produced from sheep’s milk, similar to crumbled Greek feta cheese.
I’m writing “placinte” in the plural form because it’s nearly impossible to eat only one placinta.
Some Moldovans make round placinte, like thick pancakes. Others swirl them into into spirals or pat them into triangles. On Sunday, Champa learned how to roll them into a shape like breadsticks.
She had two great teachers: Natalia, an adult niece of our host family, and Bunica, our 86-year-old host grandmother who is such a beloved part of our lives here.
The recipe was simple: Combine the brinza cheese with some eggs, dill and salt. Roll out pastry dough on a towel in the shape of a rectangle, Place the cheese mixture along one end of the rectangle. Gently lift the towel under the cheese side of the rectangle and roll the dough in the opposite direction, forming a long tube. Place the tubes on a greased pan, seam sides down, and bake at medium heat for about 40 minutes.
At the bottom of this post is a video of Bunica showing the rolling process. When she says “Gata” at the end, it means “Ready!” My own job came after the placinte emerged from the oven, tasting them to see whether they were even more delicious than the placinte we buy in local stores.
They were. We ate most of them fresh out of the oven. Mmm. Placinte!
If you’re feeling inspired and/or hungry after reading this, you can easily find several YouTube videos showing how to make placinte yourself. When they come out of your oven, don’t forget to say, “Gata!”
I bet you can’t eat just one.