PASCALE'S KITCHEN: WHO KNOWS THREE?

The story begins with the smell in the air, the shape, the hue, the crunchy crisp texture, and especially the surprise that awaits us with the first bite.

By
August 3, 2019 19:07
PASCALE'S KITCHEN: WHO KNOWS THREE?

YEAST DOUGH FILLED WITH VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI WITH PESTO. (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

This is a tale of three doughs, three fillings and three snails. The story begins with the smell in the air, the shape, the hue, the crunchy crisp texture, and especially the surprise that awaits us with the first bite.
All this make these pastries loved by everyone.

I usually prepare them on hot days and especially at the end of the week for Shabbat dinner, Shabbat morning brunch and, of course, Shabbat afternoon. Every time I choose a different dough that changes according to the filling I chose. It is the filling that affects the type of dough that I choose and the meal I will pair with the pastry.

They are three: filo dough, puff pastry, and yeast dough shaped like a snail. Sometimes the filling is meat, and at times dairy or a simply parve filling: lots of vegetables and interesting spreads that will go into the snail.

The first snail is made of yeast dough with antipasti vegetables on a bed of pesto spread or harissa with canned lemon paste.

The second snail is a puff pastry stuffed with ground meat and pine nuts. And the third snail is a filo dough snail stuffed with a dairy filling of cheese and spinach.

I usually prepare the yeast and vegetable dough for a Shabbat meal, since it becomes a sort of challah bread filled with vegetables and antipasti laid on a spicy bed, or another that is a surprise when it is eaten on Shabbat. I usually serve the meat puff pastry snail at lunch alongside a selection of delicacies I prepared for Shabbat. I always serve the snail of the filo dough with cheese and spinach for brunch alongside an abundance of cheeses, salted fish and a selection of rich salads.

Of course you have to choose one snail and match it with the meal you want to serve it with. Now the question is, what is your snail for a weekend?

PUFF PASTRY SNAIL FILLED WITH MEAT AND PINE NUTS (Credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

YEAST DOUGH FILLED WITH
VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI WITH PESTO


Makes four medium or two big snails.

Dough

1 kg. white flour, sifted (can also use spelt flour)
½ cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
50 g. fresh yeast
4 cups sugar (or 2 cups honey)
480-600 ml. water (2-2½ cups)

For spread and scatter

1 jar of pesto spread or harissa paste plus canned lemon paste.
A selection of fried vegetables seasoned with olive oil and basil (such as eggplant, zucchini, chili and sweet peppers in a variety of colors)

For brushing

1 egg, beaten with two drops of oil

For decoration

¾ cup sesame seeds

Place flour in an electric mixer bowl. Create a hole in the center and pour into it oil, egg and salt. Sprinkle around yeast and sugar.

Mix with on medium-speed with a kneading hook. Gradually add water while increasing the speed. Reduce the speed to medium and mix for about seven minutes until you get soft, flexible dough that can be detached from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour and a half or until the volume is doubled.

Process the dough slightly to remove the air. Divide into two or four equal parts. Roll out each part into a thin leaf, spread with pesto or another paste, arrange the antipasti vegetables in a single layer and roll them. Arrange and roll them into a snail and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. In this way prepare the remaining pieces of dough (arrange both round hallas in each tray). Brush the beaten egg and sprinkle the sesame seeds generously over the snails. Leave it to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C (355°F), until browned nicely. Take out and cool on a rack.

FILO DOUGH SNAIL WITH CHEESE AND SPINACH (Credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Tipascale

You can use fresh yeast, cubes or granules. It is enough to mix the yeast grains in flour, there is no need to dissolve in liquid or to ferment them before getting to work.

In the market you can also find dry yeast. These are very good because they have a long shelf life. Keep them in the fridge or freezer so there is always yeast at home.

50 g. fresh yeast = 2 Tbsp. dry yeast granules.

PUFF PASTRY SNAIL FILLED WITH
MEAT AND PINE NUTS


This snail is known from Spanish and Bulgarian cuisine as pastel con carne, meat-filled snail. Out of this long meat roll, you can create one big snail or small meat pockets shaped like a little envelope.

For a large snail

¼ cup oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
400 g. ground meat (neck), finely ground
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. cinnamon
100 g. pine nuts
1 egg
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 pack (400 g.) store-bought puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
½ cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. nigella seeds

Preheat oil in a large pan and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the meat, crush it and fry until it turns grayish.

Cover the pan and cook for six to seven minutes on medium heat for absorption of fluids.

Add salt, pepper and cinnamon and fry for one to two minutes. Remove from the fire, add pine nuts, egg and parsley and stir.

Roll out the dough over a floured work surface into a thin, rectangular leaf. Place the filling on one side of the leaf and roll into a long roll. Create a spiral (snail) shape from the roll and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Brush the snail with the egg and sprinkle over sesame and nigella seeds. Bake in an oven preheated to 250°C (480°F) for about 10 minutes.

Lower the heat to 200°C (290°F) and continue to bake for another about 30 minutes.

Tipascale

It is important to work with cold dough that has been returned to the fridge after filling. Start baking on high heat and lower to medium heat later.

FILO DOUGH SNAIL WITH CHEESE AND SPINACH (Credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

FILO DOUGH SNAIL WITH CHEESE AND SPINACH

This snail was created as a hybrid between the pie from the Greek kitchen, known as spanakopita, and Spanish cuisine. You can vary between other hard cheeses or replace the spinach with another vegetable. It is recommended to use a round tray that can be used to serve the prepared snail at the table.

For one big snail in a round tray

1 kg. fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped (or frozen spinach)
250 g. Bulgarian brined cheese, crumbled
250 g. yellow cheese, grated
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Butter flavored oil spray
10 rectangular filo leaves

For brushing

1 egg, beaten
2 oil drops

For spreading

¼ cup sesame
¼ cup black sesame or nigella seeds

Cook the spinach leaves in water for about a minute. Drain well. Squeeze leaves with your hands while pressing and place in a bowl. (If you use frozen spinach, there is no need to blanch the spinach.)

Place one filo leaf on a work surface, lightly spray with oil and place on it a second filo leaf. Lightly spray with oil and place a few spinach leaves and cheese on the side near you. Season with salt and pepper and roll into a long roll. In this way, prepare the rest of the filo leaves. Begin arranging the rolls in a spiral pattern.

In a vial, beat the egg and oil and lightly brush the snail pattern in the tray. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, nigella or black sesame over the snail.

Bake in a preheated oven to a high temperature of 200°C (290°F). Lower the heat to 180-190°C (355-375°F) and bake the snail for about 35-40 minutes. (It is advisable to check and watch the pastry since heat varies between different types of ovens.)

Tipascale

It is important to work quickly and correctly with the filo leaves so they don’t dry out while preparing the snail.

It is also essential to keep the filo leaves wrapped in a moist towel so they stay flexible.

Translated by Alon Einhorn.

• Text, photos and styling: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN


Related Content

CHELSEA WOMEN’S manager Emma Hayes and club owner Roman Abramovich pose at the Western Wall
August 21, 2019
Israel puts up a valiant fight, falls to Chelsea

By ZACHARY KEYSER

Cookie Settings