This is day 6 of a series celebrating local Toronto businesses! Recent events have put many local businesses in a difficult position and unfortunately, it’s not clear when this situation will come to an end. For ten days I’ll be posting recipes inspired by some of my favourite local businesses as my own way of celebrating what they bring to our communities. While we may not be able to visit our local bakeries, cafes and restaurants right now, this is a way of keeping them in mind, and a reminder to support them again once there is a chance.
A friend and I found first ourselves in Simit and Chai on a winter day with an abnormal amount of snow for Toronto. It was crowded, but we found room on a bench tucked in front of the window and watched King street turn white (again, it was an abnormal amount of snow!) with hot Turkish tea and baked goods. The cafe is named for their simit, which look like sesame-coated Montreal-style bagels, but rolled thin and wide and surprisingly soft. Split in half, they’re filled with various fillings, or served with different dips and side dishes.
When I asked for a recommendation for a small snack the olive paste acma was unequivocally endorsed – a soft, oil-enriched dough, burnished with egg yolk and sesame seeds, and rolled around a salty black olive paste. With a generous filling-to-bread ratio, the olive paste is both gentle and immensely savoury, and the best savoury pastry I’ve had in a long time.
I have a habit of researching and comparing recipes when I make something new – sometimes you find that there seems to a universal formula underlying all the recipes, and sometimes you find every recipe is different. Acma dough is somewhere in between – I consulted Turkish Style Cooking, When Feta Meets Olive, Hayati Magazine and Edible Maison.
The acma took a couple batches to get the where I wanted – I made the dough saltier, rolled them thinner, and filled with lots more olive paste.
olive paste acma
- 400mL can black olives packed in water (I ended up with 160g of olives once pitted)
- 208g all-purpose flour (generous 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp yeast
- 60g boiling water (1/4 cup)
- 60g whole milk, cold from the fridge (1/4 cup)
- 34g vegetable oil (approximately 3 tbsp)
- 1 egg white
- egg yolk for egg wash
- black sesame seeds
- melted butter
Drain and pit the olives, and grind in the food processor with a tsp of olive oil until it forms a thick, rough paste. Taste and season with additional salt depending on how salty your olives are.
To make the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Combine the boiling water and cold milk, which will result in a nice warm intermediate temperature. Add the water/milk mixture, the oil and egg white to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.
Cover with a damp towel and let rest ten minutes to allow the gluten to begin developing. Fold the dough – fold it onto itself like an envelope horizontally and vertically to form a tight ball. Let rest another ten minutes and repeat the fold. The dough will be a bit sticky and very elastic and smooth.
Let the dough rise until doubled, around 40 minutes.
While working with the dough, lightly oil your hands. Divide the dough into six (or eight, for slightly smaller acma!) portions. Shape each into a ball. As you work with one piece of dough, keep the others covered.
Roll out the ball of dough into an oblong round, 1/4″ thick. Spread with a rather heaped tablespoon of olive paste, sparing the edges. Roll up into a log, sealing all the edges. Stretch the log slightly, then curl into a round, tucking the ends underneath. Set the acma on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a damp towel and let rise around 30 minutes or until puffed.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of water. When the acma are ready to be baked, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake the acma for around 15 minutes (13 if making eight smaller acma) or until nicely browned. I broiled mine for a couple additional minutes to get a deeper colour.
Brush the hot baked acma with a bit of melted butter and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cover the buns with a lightly damp towel as they cool – I like doing this as it helps the crust of the buns soften.