What's a Zelnik? That was always the retort when I told my grade school classmates what my favorite food is. To be honest I didn't even fully understand what it was back then. I knew what our family recipe had in it - eggs, cheese curds, feta cheese, and leeks - but I never considered that there were other variations.
"It's like a quiche," I once heard and so that's what I told people. As an adult, I must now politely disagree with that assessment.
Sure, its a baked dish that has eggs and cheese in it but a quiche is much more delicate, less hearty, and the crust is something entirely different. First of all, the Zelnik's filling is completely encased by the crust whereas a quiche has no top. Second, Zelnik crust is rolled quite thin to give it a crispy texture. Lastly, and most important, is that the Zelnik's crust made from a laminated dough that results in a superior flakey goodness. But that's not where the differences end because Zelnik is and can be so much more than what I knew as child.
At its core, Zelnik is a Macedonian pie made with a laminated dough that encompasses a wide variety of fillings - traditionally this would be minced meats, cheeses, leeks, sauerkraut, pumpkin, or some combination of all the above.
Nontraditionally? That's where I come in. This thing is a blank canvas of crispy crust. Armed with the Nontraditional Macedonian moniker I'm able to paint a lot of pictures on that canvas, drawing inspirations from other cultures all the while paying homage to my own.