Holy Khachapuri! Georgian Egg Pizza Is Going To Make You Smile
You know, back before the days of chiseling ice, shoveling snow, checking to see if your ears were frostbitten, or wrapping your pashmina around your goose bump-covered neck, there was summertime, complete with enough daylight to lollygag and meander outside around the trusty backyard Weber. And because of this lollygagging availability, I was tasked with trying to grill a Georgian Egg Pizza, which in truth is a kind of pizza, pide, and fondue all contained in a chewy, fluffy, boat-shaped crust. And what that boat crust delivers is a decadently delicious combination of cheeses with herbs. Of course, we have to put an egg on it, or two in this case. So let’s get after this recipe, first appearing in the latest Steven Raichlen book, How To Grill Vegetables.
Dough-making is always a sticky subject (first eye roll). What I mean is that everyone has their favorite and everyone will say that theirs is best, so you can make this one, make your own, or buy a dough that is you see as acceptable to properly contain your ingredients. This one is made like traditional pizza dough but has milk added into it, (It was the best), and made enough dough for two Khachpuri.
After the dough was proofed, about 1-1 1/2 hours, transfer it to a floured cutting board. Punch it down like it owes you money, separate it into two balls and leave covered on an oiled pan to once again, double in size. On a floured surface, punch them down again as a reminder, and roll them out in more of an oval shape, about 10 inches long. Start rolling the sides into themselves, and as the dough shape becomes thinner, widthwise, stop rolling the sides and roll the top and bottom ends, pinching them together to make a boat or canoe shape. You canoe it (second eye roll).
Mix the grated cheeses together with oregano and divide among the boats, pouring half into each one and spreading the mixture out so it covers the entire bottom of the dough.
Heat a cast-iron pizza pan, plancha, or a pizza stone over an indirect fire up to at least 500°F. Sprinkle cornmeal on the surface and slide your boat onto the pizza pan like your showing off, being careful not to capsize and spill the contents, ruining your show-off moment. You can do both pizzas at the same time if you choose. I wanted to do them one at a time to make sure I had enough surface area to accommodate my Khachapuri without crowding.
When the Khachapuri looks mostly done and the cheese is pretty much melted, take the back end of a large spoon and make a couple of indentations where you want the eggs. If you’re some sort of egg-cracking hotshot, you can just crack the eggs right into those indentations. If you’re like me, you crack the eggs into separate bowls and slowly slide them into the nesting holes made with the spoon.
After the egg whites are just set, or whenever the eggs are done to your liking, pull the Khachapuri off of the grill and put it onto a serving plate.
I think you know what comes next. Tear a piece of bread off of the bread boat, dip it in the cheese and egg, swirl it around, and bring that perfect bite up to your mouth.
As a lifelong fan of pizza, eggs, and freshly baked bread, I can tell you that this is a taste of heaven, and with the variety of different fillings and toppings that can be adapted to this recipe, all I can think about is why I’m not firing up the grill to make more of these right now.
Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired
Khachapuri: Georgian Egg Pizza
- 1 Grill
- 1 Grill safe pizza pan or stone
- Preferred wood chunks or chips
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 tbsp bakers yeast (1 packet)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour plus more for board work and dusting
- 1 scant tsp salt
- 1/3 cup warm milk
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus oil for the bowl
- cornmeal or semolina for pizza peel
- 8 ounces melting cheeses, coarsely grated ideally an equal mixture like gouda and jack cheese
- 4 ounces feta cheese, coarsely grated
- 4 large organic eggs
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp chives, freshly chopped
Dough and Pizza Prep
- Place the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and let stand until the yeast is foamy, 5 minutes. Place the flour and salt in a food processor (ideally, one fitted with a dough blade, although a metal blade will work too). Add the yeast mixture, milk, and olive oil. Process in short bursts until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball. Knead for 2 minutes in the processor. Transfer the dough ball to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute with your hands.
- Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down, cut it in half, reform balls, and let the dough rise on an oiled sheet pan covered with plastic wrap and a dish cloth until doubled in bulk again. Meanwhile, set up your grill for indirect grilling. Place a pizza stone or plancha on the grate between the fires. Heat your grill and the stone to 500 degrees.
- Generously flour your work surface. Punch down each dough ball and roll it into an oval 9 to 10 inches long. Pinch the short ends together to form slender points. Build up the sides of each oval to make a 1/4-inch lip. Viewed from the top, what results will look like a canoe with a long pointy bow and stern. Arrange the canoes on a pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the top of each pizza with cheese and desired herbs, entirely covering the flat part.
Grilling the Khachapuri
- Add the flavoring wood to the coals (if using a charcoal grill) or place in your gas grill’s smoker box. Slide the Khachapuri from the peel onto the hot pizza pan and close the lid. Check on the progress to notice when the cheese is mostly melted and the crust is nicely browned, 12-15 minutes.
- When almost finished, make two indentations in the melted cheese topping near the ends of the pizza. Slide an egg into each cheese nest, and sprinkle the pizza with oregano. Replace the grill lid. When the egg whites have just set (or are cooked to your desired doneness), transfer the khachapuri to a serving platter and sprinkle with the chopped chives.
- Dig in and enjoy. It's ok to get a little messy with this one.