Zaatar Cheese Rings
One of the best sides to a Middle Eastern breakfast - flaky dough tucked around fresh mozzarella and Syrian cheese sprinkled with zaatar and sesame seeds. For something this delicious to be this easy is simply sinful. Start your day off right with a zaatar cheese ring to share and a warm cup of tea.
Two very talented women inspired me to develop these beautiful zaatar cheese rings. My cousin, Fatin, who made delicious and fluffy zaatar and cheese stuffed balls with fresh dough and also, one of my dearest friend’s mother, Ibtsam, who always used to bake zaatar biscuits with a pot of tea for breakfast for my friend Miriam and I whenever we had our best ever sleepovers as teens. These zaatar cheese rings are just the perfect breakfast and something about them makes me nostalgic...
As difficult as these zaatar cheese rings may seem, they are truly simple. And when I say simple, I mean extremely simple. All you need to do is spend forty five minutes of your time in the morning to make something as delicious as these for yourself or for your family. Skip the hassle of making fresh dough and use this easy recipe to cut the time in half!
Before beginning, take note of a few things. One ring serves two people and for each ring you need one can of Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls. As for the cheese, you will need one pack of fresh mozzarella and one pack of Syrian cheese (you can find both at Pete’s Fresh Market). For the amount of cheese that you will have, you could make up to three zaatar cheese rings. However, you can just save the extra cheese mixture in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator for next time!
Zaatar Cheese Balls
Not feeling the fancy shmancy Zaatar Cheese Ring? Make Zaatar Cheese Balls instead! Use the exact same recipe, except instead of unrolling the dough at first, slice the dough into 8 pieces. Then, form a well in each circle of dough with your thumbs, stuff with the zaatar-cheese mixture and seal tightly, brush on egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and zaatar, and bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes, or until golden (don’t forget to spray the pan)! You definitely save time, and it tastes just as amazing!
Have you tried this recipe?
Prep Time: 20 m • Bake Time: 25 m • Preheat: 375°
What you need
- 1-3 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
- 1 package fresh mozzarella
- 1 package Syrian cheese
- 1 egg, for wash
- Olive oil
- Flour, for workspace
- Nonstick spray
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Then, in a large bowl, break down the fresh mozzarella and Syrian cheese into crumbles, then combine.
2. Toss in a couple handfuls of zaatar, or however much you prefer. Sprinkle a generous amount of basil and combine spices with cheese, then set aside.
3. Prepare a large, clean workspace with some flour scattered over it. Pop open the Pillsbury Original Crescent Roll can and roll out onto the surface. Gently cut the triangles with a butter knife and set them aside.
4. Whisk one egg in a tiny bowl. Use the tiny bowl in the center of your workspace and set the bottom edge of the triangle at the center towards the bowl. Overlap triangles in the same direction.
5. Remove the bowl from the center and set aside for later. Take a handful of cheese and shape it into an oval. It shouldn’t be thicker than 1 inch and it shouldn’t be longer than 2-3 inches. Place at the bottom of each triangle leaving 1/2 inch from the center circle. Lightly drizzle a few drops of olive oil around the ring of cheese.
6. Gently wrap each triangle over the cheese and tuck it into the dough on the inner circle nice and tight. If you need to slowly stretch the triangle to cover more cheese, do so carefully. The goal is to have all the cheese covered and for the dough to be closed tightly at the inner circle to prevent spillage.
7. Once you’ve finished tucking in the laps over one another, be sure to check the dough is pressed tightly around the cheese.
8. Brush the egg around the top of the ring. This will help achieve the beautiful golden color and will also help the sesame seeds and zaatar stick to the top.
9. Sprinkle a handful of sesame seeds and zaatar around the top of the ring.
10. Spray a large, flat pan with nonstick spray. Carefully carry the rings from the workspace to the pan using two spatulas. Be careful that it doesn’t fall apart while transferring!
11. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!