Sunday, March 4, 2012

Imqaret , Date pastries

Imqaret , Date pastries
Makes about 30
For the pastry
4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1⁄3 cup sugar
4 tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter,
cut into pieces
5 tbsp dry red wine
¼ cup orange juice
For the filling
1lb (450g) pitted dates
juice and grated zest of 1 orange
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1⁄3 cup dry red wine
pinch of ground cloves
1 bay leaf
4 star anise
vegetable oil for frying
To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar
and butter, and rub into the flour between your fingertips to form the texture
of breadcrumbs. Using a spoon, mix in the wine and orange juice to make a
smooth dough, adding a little extra flour if necessary. Turn the dough out onto
a floured work surface, and knead as you would bread dough, until it is soft but
not sticky. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until needed.
Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a heavy saucepan. Simmer
gently over medium heat for 20 minutes until the dates are soft and the wine
has reduced. Discard the star anise and the bay leaf. Transfer the filling to a food
processor or blender, and process until smooth. Let cool completely.
Cut the pastry into 4 equal pieces. Working one piece at a time on a floured
work surface, roll it out as thinly as possible, into a strip about 4in (10cm)
wide. Using a pastry brush, moisten the edges with a little water, and spoon
some of the filling down the center of the pastry. Fold the pastry in half
lengthwise, covering the filling. Flatten slightly, and press the edges together to
seal. You will end up with a long roll. Cut diagonally across the pastry with a
sharp knife, making diamond-shaped pieces that are about 2in (5cm) long.
Repeat with the remaining pastry and date filling.
In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, heat about ¾in (2cm) of oil until hot.
Break off a small piece of pastry and add to the oil—it should sizzle slightly,
but not brown too fast. When ready, shallow-fry the pastries in small batches for
4–5 minutes or until golden brown all over. Serve at once.

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