Recipe: Pizza. Love, from Macedonia (Pastrmajlija)

The air buzzes with excitement. Ava pats the dough and we’re on our way to Macedonian pizza (Pastrmajlija), an addicting combination of diced pork, olive oil, and cracked eggs.  Together, her little hands next to my big hands, we shape the pizza two ways -first in a traditional full-moon circle and then in a Valentine’s-inspired heart. While some might say the shapes taste the same, I beg to differ. Anything heart-shaped tastes infinitely better than that same thing not heart-shaped.

Dressed up in a dusting of black pepper, the pork sizzles in the oven and turns slightly golden. The rich, golden yolk makes the entire pizza taste like a dreamy breakfast. Simple to make and yet so full of flavor.

That’s love.


Traditional Pastrmajlija is made with pork smoked in a “pusnici” during the cool winter months (October-February).  This video shows what a pusnici looks like. Since I lacked access to the traditional method, I used fresh pork. Seek out smoked meats, however, if you can! Here’s what an authentic Pastrmajlija looks like:

Photo by

Photos by Devid Gorgievski


Also, you may wish to scramble the egg before pouring it over the pizza, an alternate preparation popular in Macedonia. As for the fat used, I used olive oil which is generally popular in the area, but some locals like to dot this pizza with lard instead, lending the pizza a much more indulgent quality. The choice is yours.

Makes two 10″ Macedonian pizzas


1 recipe homemade  pita dough

1 – 1 1/2 large, boneless pork loin chop(s) (butterflied makes your work easier)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

2 eggs


Prepare homemade pita dough. Cover with a moist cloth and let the dough rest in a warm, sunny spot until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, go row a boat on still morning in Macedonia. Listen to the water lap the sides of your boat. Daydream. Soak up the sun. Why not? This is stove top travel. This is your chance to imagine.

Lake Dojran, Macedonia. Photo by Ksenija Putilin.

When you get home, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 400F. If you don’t have a pizza stone, just bake the pizza on a sheet pan  (cooking times may vary, though).

Divide dough into two pieces. Roll them into hearts, circles, whatever shape suits your fancy – dusting with flour to prevent sticking, if necessary. Press down with your hand to create a lip around the edge, so the egg doesn’t roll off later.

Meanwhile, dice the pork chop. This large, butterflied chop easily covered the two pizzas.

Toss the diced pork with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread onto pizza.

Brush crust with a glistening coat of olive oil.

Bake for 16-20 minutes. Now, here’s what I figured out in my very wacky oven:

– the egg will be quite runny if cooked 10-12 minutes
– the egg will set completely if you add it at the beginning of baking

The choice is yours.

We added it after about 8 minutes of baking:

Then we brushed it again with olive oil, before returning to oven.

And we started working on the next one…

Now,. I’m going to show you a mistake, so you can learn from my folly. The next pizza didn’t rise well because the dough was too dry. You want your dough to be soft, like a baby’s bottom. Or else it’ll look more like a cracker when baked (and, worse yet, the yolk rolled right off of it):


Here’s a nice specimen… notice how the lip kept the egg from rolling off the edge of the pizza:

Yum! Beautiful! Happy, happy.

Ava was proud of her handiwork.

Enjoy immediately, with a big heart, a smile…

… a view, and a few friends. Perhaps all rolled up in one… as with these stone dollies from Macedonia:

Natural stone “dolls” in Macedonia. Photo by Rašo.

They look like pretty good dining companions to me.

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  1. Kate Machin says:

    Mmm … that looks so good! It’s very similar to a Cypriot recipe I’ve had before, which uses ground lamb instead of the pork. Want to try this version now!

  2. That picture of your daughter smiling down next to the pizza peel is beyond adorable!

  3. Looks delicious, I’ll have to try this!

    I have to ask: Did you actually change Ava’s clothes mid-process to make them match the blue bowl of olive oil and the pink toy stroller, respectively? Or was there just a little accident somewhere in between?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Ha! No, that wasn’t planned… and I hadn’t even noticed… we made a few batches of this recipe over a couple of days, which is why her outfit is different. :)

      • Hi I’m Devid and i’m from Kratovo Macedonia. This is not a real pastramajlija. Plesea sent me your e-mail to send u picture from REAL PASTRAMAJLIJA.

  4. Pinelopi says:

    I look forward to cook this pizza, but this is a recipe from FYROM not from Macedonia!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hi Pinelopi – yes, I made an adaptation since I didn’t have the authentic pork on hand. But it was fun to make what we could, as close as we could :)

  5. Hi I’m Devid and i’m from Kratovo Macedonia. This is not a real pastramajlija. Plesea sent me your e-mail to send u picture from REAL PASTRAMAJLIJA.


  1. […] Even something as simple as rolling dough together – as with the braided heart bread from Slovenia – or shaping it into a pizza, and diving into such a homemade creation together is a full-of-love sort activity (the best two homemade pizzas we made on this blog were the Turkish Lahmacun and the macedonian Pastrmajlija… Yum!) […]

  2. […] Via […]

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