Thursday, January 8, 2009

From my Abuela's Oven

My mother was born and raised in Uruguay, South America. She later came to the US to marry my father and continue on to raise our family. My grandparents soon followed, then returned to Montevideo to live out the last years of their lives.

I remember my grandmother would always have pizza waiting for us when we would go visit her in Dearborn, MI from our home in MD. No matter what time of day it was when we arrived, she had several rectangle pies ready for us to chow down on. She'd put finely chopped onions in the sauce, uncooked, and even though I hated it as a child (and still don't like 'em raw), I crave for those savory slices, dotted with her chunky tomato sauce and sprinkle of cheese. Easy does it, was the way for her pizzas; not overloaded with sauce and ridiculous amounts of cheese like we do here in the US. It's no wonder we are such a fat fucking country.

Anyways, so another dish Abuela would make was her Uruguayan specialty, Pasqualina. Pronounced "Pah-kwa-lee-nah". She would make every bit of it from scratch, because that's how they roll in Uruguay--none of that processed crap. Nowadays, my mother has found a good source of pre-made Pasqualina pastry from a local Latino market down in MD.

I made the dough for this dish from scratch, cuz, well, ya ain't gettin' the pre-made dough way the fuck out here! A pie crust would work, too, I guess.

There were also some additions and modifications. Grandma never added any other kind of cheese except Parmesan (or some other hard cheese), and she didn't use Artichokes, either. She also hard-boiled the eggs and sliced them in half, letting the dough drape over the eggs, making beautiful mounds that we all fought for.

If you put your knife into flour, it will make chopping the butter wayyyy easier.

Rolling out the dough. Had to combine some of the balls cuz it was getting really thin, and the dough was easily tearing. Haha--my balls are thin!

Getting started on the filling: onions and garlic.

All filled up and ready to bake. I admit, it was fun "digging" holes for the eggs. . .

Sprinkle the top with sugar--cuz that's how Abuela did it. . .

Yum! All baked and ready to eat! Had a little extra filling so the little guy was my "test" sample.


Dough Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (could use half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp chilled butter
  • 4 Tbsp shortening
  • 4 Tbsp ice cold water
  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and cut in, using a pastry cutter or two butter knives until it resembles coarse crumbles.
  2. Stir in enough cold water to make a dough and form into a ball.
  3. Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface and form into a log. Cut into 8-10 portions and roll into balls.
  4. Set aside under a damp towel to rest for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the filling:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each Oregano and Thyme (use fresh if ya got it)
  • pinch of nugmeg
  • 1 1/2 packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup (about 8 pieces) quartered artichoke hearts, thawed (or drained, if using jarred)
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice (could reduce this to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives with Pimentos (didn't have these so I used garlic stuffed)
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve white for later)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Aged Gouda
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the spinach and artichokes, stirring in the herbs to combine. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
Get 4 more eggs out of the frig and set aside. Next, prepare the Dough:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk the reserved egg white in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Brush a pie dish with oil or melted butter and set aside.
  4. Remove half of the balls and keep the rest covered while you work. Roll each ball into a circle large enough to cover your pie dish, then brush each layer with olive oil. Repeat with the other balls.
  5. Place the layered dough circles in pie dish and prick a few times with a fork.
  6. Fill the pie shell with the spinach filling, making 4 indentations for the eggs.
  7. Carefully drop eggs into the reserved "holes", pressing the filling around as necessary to maintain a nice round shape.
  8. Repeat the procedure above for the remaining dough balls.
  9. Place the final layers of dough over the filling , trimming and patching as necessary. Use a fork and crimp around the edges.
  10. Brush with a beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for at least 40 minutes. Bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
This is delicious cold, too! Pin It

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems to be worth all that work!

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