Desserts & Sweets

Chef Nathan Kibarian’s Gata Pastry Recipe

Two words drew me to Nathan Kibarian – ‘chef’ and ‘pastry’.

In addition to being a professional pastry chef, Nathan is young, dedicated to his profession, and Armenian. What a great combination!

A few months ago, I watched Nathan prepare his Gata recipe in a live Zoom presentation. It’s still available for viewing at Oldways.

I contacted him to see if he would permit me to share his recipe, and as you might have guessed, he graciously said ‘yes’.

Without further ado, and with many thanks to Chef Nathan, here is his recipe for Armenian Gata.

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Armenian Gata

An elaborately decorated sweet, rich pastry filled with a mixture of flour, butter, and sugar.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rise and Rest Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with dough hook attachment

Ingredients

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Milk                     
  • cups Heavy Cream             
  • 2 Eggs                   
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar                           
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter       softened    
  • tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 5-7 cups All-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:

  • cups Sugar                           
  • cups Butter cold, diced
  • cups Flour                   
  • 2 Tbsp. Vanilla extract              

Instructions

Directions for Dough:

  • To prepare the dough you will need a mixer with a dough hook attachment or you can knead by hand.
  • Measure out the milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it to allow the yeast to dissolve.
  • Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed until the dough begins to develop.  About 3minutes.
  • Mix the dough for an additional 5-7 minutes on second speed until the dough is nice and smooth. 
  • Add the softened butter and continue to mix until fully incorporated into the dough and the dough becomes nice and smooth.
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and give it a few more kneads by hand before placing in an oiled bowl. Allow to rise, covered, for about 1-2 hours until double in size.

Directions for Filling:

  • Place all the ingredients into the mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until all the butter is worked into the flour and sugar but still is crumbly in texture. Reserve under refrigeration until ready to use.
  • When the dough has risen, deflate the dough by pressing it down in the bowl and then turning it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  • Cut off a portion about the size of a baseball and reserve for later.
  • Press out the remaining dough into a rough circle about 12”in diameter.
  • Top the circle with a generous amount of the filling leaving an edge of about one inch all the way around. 
  • Bring the edges in to the center and pinch together to seal the filling in.  Pat down the dough to evenly spread the filling inside.
  • Turn the gata right side up and place on a sprayed pizza pan.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  • Use the remaining dough to create designs of your choice.  You can roll out and use cookie cutters to create designs or just cut the dough into strips to decorate.
  • Egg wash the gata with a beaten egg after placing the designs directly on the dough.
  • Poke holes over the top surface right before baking and bake for about 30-45 minutes until a shiny golden brown.
  • Allow the gata to cool before serving. 

Notes

This style of Gata is typical in the villages of Garni and Geghard in Armenia.  It is best enjoyed fresh but can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.

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