Cocas, are a savory pastry imported by the Europeans living in Algeria during the French colonization (1830-1962) in Algeria. They are similar to the Spanish Empanadas and they are made with a basic dough and filled with peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spices. They can also sometimes be filled with meat and onions and prepared with a puff pastry. They are usually baked in the oven, but can also be fried.
During the month of Ramadan, they can replace the classic bourek (kind of spring rolls) to accompany the soup.
For the crust:
- 600g of all purpose flour/plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 200g of butter (cut in small cubes)
- 200ml of water
- 1 egg yolk for the brush
- Sift the flour into a large bowl.
- Add the salt.
- Add the butter and crumble all the ingredients together.
- Pour the water and knead until you assemble a soft dough (more or less of water depending on the quality of the flour).
- Wrap in cling film and store the dough into the fridge.
For the filling:
- 6 long sweet peppers (Anaheim or Cubanelle)
- 1 long green chili pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic (smashed)
- 3 tomatoes
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of sweet red paprika
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse the peppers.
- Place them on the hot grill, and grill until burnt (if you don’t have a grill you can stick the pepper on a long handled fork and hold the pepper close to the gas and rotate your fork until the peppers are charred).
- Let the peppers cool for about 30 minutes.
- When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard them (do not rinse the peppers, otherwise you will lose the taste).
- Chop the peppers into small cubes then place them in a bowl on the side.
- Rinse the tomatoes.
- Place the three tomatoes on the hot grill and proceed the same way as for the peppers.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the smashed garlic and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Add the chopped peppers and simmer for about 15 minutes stir constantly.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, the salt, the black pepper and the paprika.
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Flour a clean surface and flatten the dough with a rolling pin (flour also your rolling pin).
- Roll your dough out until it is approximately 5mm in thickness.
- Use a medium round cookie cutter (12cm).
- Lightly brush edges with water.
- Add a little of the stuffing in the middle.
- Fold half of pastry over filling.
- Press and pinch the cocas’ edges with fingertips to seal tightly (press with a fork for a better tightness).
- Preheat the oven to 180C degree.
- Brush each cocas with the egg yolk.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown (more or less depending of your oven).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes.
- They are perfect for a picnic or with a warm soup on the side!
Bonne dégustation, saha ftourkoum!