Pastrmajlija is an authentic Macedonian specialty. It resembles a pizza because it is dough that is topped with pieces of pork. The pork pieces are heavenly seasoned with paprika. This gives it its unique taste unlike any other.
Versions of Pastrmajlija vary in different cities across Macedonia and each restaurant offers their creative twist. A Pastrmajlija may have a beaten egg on top . There may also be melted cheese and mushrooms as toppings. One thing is for certain. It is always served with a side hot green finger peppers for a spicy kick.
This Macedonian Pastrmajlija recipe requires a pizza stone.
This Macedonian Pastrmajlija recipe requires a pizza stone because it makes the dough so much softer and your pastrmajlija will always taste perfect. You can find a pizza stone here. I also highly suggest a pizza peel to easily transfer your pastrmajlija onto a hot pizza stone. Refer to my tips on using a pizza stone for the Macedonian Pastrmajlija on the bottom of this post.
How to make Macedonian Pastrmajlija.
There are two parts to making a Macedonian pastrmajlija. One is preparing the pork and the second is making the dough.
- Begin with preparing the pork. The pork loin is cut into small cubes. The cubes should be small because they cook raw on top of raw dough. Both of the pork and dough have to bake together. If the pork pieces are too big, chances are the dough will bake faster than the pork. This results in raw pork and burnt dough. The pork is seasoned with paprika and salt and submerged in oil. This gives the pork it its unique smokey flavor.
- The dough requires only a few simple ingredients. First start with activating the yeast in lukewarm water and sugar. Then add the yeast mixture to all purpose flour and salt along with 3 tablespoons of oil.
- The dough should be kneaded until the ingredients come together and a soft ball of dough forms. The should should not stick to your fingers or your working surface. If it does, add some more flour, only one tablespoon at a time. Work in the flour completely before adding any more flour. Set the dough to the side, covered with a towel until it rises about double its size.
- Once doubled in size, deflate the dough, knead it again, and let it rise a second time. This time only about 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal sections, form into balls and set them aside to rest for about 10 minutes, covered. I have found that this last rise results in softer dough. Skipping this will result in a crunchier crust. It all comes down to preference.
- Stretch each ball of down in a long oval that will fit your pizza stone or baking sheet. I bake two at a time on a round pizza stone.
To summarize making the dough:
- Knead and let rise for 45 minutes or close to double in size.
- Knead dough a second time and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Divide into 3 equal sections and let them rest 10 minutes.
Baking tips when using a pizza stone.
- The pizza stone should be very hot prior to transferring pastrmajlija on it. Check the instructions for your pizza stone and use it according to instructions. Most require to sit in a oven heated to 500F for 30 minutes. If that’s the case, heat it to 500F, then decrease temperature to 450F when baking the pastrmajlija.
- Us a pizza peel to transfer each Pastrmajlija onto the pizza stone. Sprinkle corn meal or flour over pizza peel then place pastrmajlija dough on it. This will help the pastrmajlija slide off easier onto the hot pizza stone.
Serving Macedonian Pastrmajlija.
Just when you think you have had enough peppers, thing again. The pork in this specialty is heavily seasoned with paprika. After it is baked, the pastrmajlija is topped with more crushed black pepper. Not only that, but it almost always comes with a side of spicy pickled green finger peppers of some sort.
Do I have to use lard in this recipe?
In short, no! Pastrmajlija is made with lard. The lard is placed over the top of the pork. As the pastrmajlija bakes, the lard melts. This makes the dough softer and gives a stronger pork flavor. I have found that this creates a greasier and heavier Pastrmajlija. I don’t use lard. Instead, I use a pastry brush to brush pork drippings over the crust after the pastrmajlija bakes.
Macedonian Pastrmajlija Recipe
- 2 lbs pork loin cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
- 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour more if needed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1½ cup luke warm water
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 package yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red peper flakes
- pickled hot chili peppers
- Slice the pork loin into ¼" cubes. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle paprika and salt and mix. Pour oil over the seasoned pork and let marinade for at least one hour or overnight.
- To prepare the dough, start with activating the yeast. In lukewarm water, add one teaspoon of sugar and mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast over the water and set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture develops foam.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt. Whisk to incorporate evenly. In the center of the dry ingredients, add yeast mixture and oil. Begin kneading the dough with your hands until it comes together. The dough should be soft without sticking to your fingers.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside in a warm area in your home so that they dough can rise. Once the dough is doubled in size, deflate the dough. Transfer the dough onto a counter. Knead the dough a second time. Place the dough in the same bowl and let it rest a second time for 20 minutes.
- Place pizza stone in oven and heat oven to 500°F. Once oven comes to temperature, leave pizza stone in oven for 30 minutes so that it becomes very hot. After 30 minutes, decrease oven temperature to 450°F.
- While pizza stone heats, prepare each pastrmajlija. To do so, divide dough into 4 equal sections. Form each section into a ball and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Using your hands, shape each section into a long oval. See pictures above. Place one pastrmajlija on a pizza peel at a time. Dust pizza peel with flour or corn meal to prevent pastrmajlija from sticking. When the dough is on your pizza peel, place ¼ of the seasoned pork on top of the the pastrmajlija. Carefully transfer the pastrmajlija onto your pizza oven. Repeat this for remaining of your pastrmajlijas. You should be able to fit 2 at a time on the pizza stone depending on the size of your pizza stone.
- Bake pastrmajlijas for about 12-15 minutes or until the pork pieces are fully cooked through and the edges of the pastrmajlija are golden brown. Remove from oven by removing one Pastrmajlija at a time. Do not touch hot pizza stone.
- Immediately after you remove each pastrmajlija from the oven, using a pastry brush, spread the oil from the pork over the edges ove the whole pastrmajlija. This will give it its unique flavor and softon the dough.
- Sprinkle top of each pastrmajlija with crushed red pepper and serve with pickled hot chili peppers