The best basterma is dry cured tenderloin of beef...but all the taste comes from the "paste" with which it is cured and coated to hang for drying. My father knew the whole procedure because he used make himself for his little sandwich place he finally had. Unfortunately at that time I was not interested and never asked him how he made it. This was before the time I took interest to cooking.
I don't know what ingredients are involved in this "coating" but once you eat it you end up with an unpleasant odor on you, no matter how many showers you take, for about week (depending how much you eat of course). Some fancy people eat only the thinly sliced by hand meat inside discarding the coating which isn't that bad. But real eaters eat this thin rind around the slice as well. For me this is the whole delicacy of the matter. But I tell you, everything on you has this distinctive odor!! I have a good dose every six months!!
Basterma is delicious with scrambled eggs, with bread alone, alone, fried, and cooked in pies.
It is mostly made sold and eaten by Armenians but Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Palestinians eat it as well and some make it differently.
Legend says it that the best Basterma is made from camel meat. I can never get a proper answer from a producer because he will never tell the truth. I know my father used to make it from the best beef tenderloin.
Not to bore you any further and if you are interested to read more on this subject please go to :
To make a Basterma pie you will need:
Serves 6 - 8
- 300 gr of sliced Basterma with coating roughly cut in small pieces.
- 300 gr of Gouda or Cheddar cheese or any other yellow melting cheese cut in small pieces.
- A béchamel made with 50 gr of butter, 50 gr of flour and 500 ml of milk, freshly ground white pepper, and nutmeg. Procedure is written in the "How to "section of this blog.
- 2 sheets of puff pastry.
- 3 Tbsp. of fresh cream 35%.
- A special pie mold with detachable base/ring
- Cover base with oven proof paper.
- Make your béchamel and add to it the cheese and basterma. Let sit for a while to cool and for flavors to blend in.
- In the meantime place one sheet of puff pastry on the bottom of the pie mold.
- Pour the béchamel / basterma / cheese mixture in the mold over the bottom puff pastry. Distribute evenly.
- Place the second piece of puff pastry over the filling to cover. Arrange the borders.
- With a sharp knife cut the pie in as many pieces as are expected to be eaten. 6 or 8. (It is messy to cut already baked puff pastry).
- Add beaten egg and brush surface everywhere.
- Add the fresh cream.
- Spray with water to get a crunchier pie.
- Bake at 200 degrees C for 1 hour.
- Take out from oven let cool at least 1 hour before you serve.
It is delicious !! Try it if you can get Basterma