Posts Tagged ‘puerto rican’

Pan de Mallorca

January 24, 2011

As it turns out, I’m afraid of yeast.  Seriously, I’m not kidding – there is just way too much to worry about.  Is the water warm enough for the yeast?  Will the yeast bubble??  Will the dough rise?  Am I kneading the dough for long enough?  Will the dough rise again??  Too much pressure, I tell you.  Too much left to chance.  I simply do not use yeast…I’m too afraid.

But I had these rolls called mallorcas in Puerto Rico.  They were rich pillowy buttery croissant-like rolls, split open and filled with butter and guava or cherry jam (or ham and cheese for the most traditional version, but c’mon, really…let’s go with the jam), grilled and then doused with powdered sugar.  They were literally oozing with buttery goodness.

The thought of never eating a mallorca again deeply, deeply depressed me, and I realized that the only way I could experience this joy again was if I made mallorcas at home.  I considered lifting my ban on yeast.  I searched for the most simple recipe for mallorcas.  All the steps seemed easy enough, but I held my breath the entire time.  (A full two hours of holding my breath.)  But – at the end – they were just like the ones I ate in San Juan!  Soft, buttery, warm, delicious.  Bring it on, yeast.  I’m ready for you.

Pan de Mallorca (original recipe here)

Like I said, the most traditional versions are filled with ham and cheese, grilled and dusted with powdered sugar.  A sweet and savory pastry of sorts.  For my fellow vegetarians, I even saw egg and cheese versions on San Juan menus, which I was tempted to try.  But for those true to my heart, my fellow sweet-teethed people, stick to the jam.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
flour for dusting work surface
butter to grease bowl and pan
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Procedure

1. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar, salt, egg yolks, milk, 4 tablespoons of the cooled butter, and 2-1/2 cups of the flour. Mix well.

2. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn out the dough and knead for 5 minutes. Add enough of the remaining flour so that the dough is not sticky.

3. Grease a bowl with butter. Pour the dough in it and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside. Punch the dough down. Knead it on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 18×9 inches. Brush with the remaining melted butter. Roll up the dough from one short end and cut it into 9 slices; trim the ends to make them neat. Arrange the slices in the baking pan. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar.  Alternatively, you can split the rolls open, spread butter and a jam of your choice on both sides, close and grill.  After grilling, dust with powdered sugar.

Quesitos

December 3, 2010

When I was younger, one of my favorite outings would be to go out for breakfast.  There was always something so special about it.  Weekday breakfasts were always quick, and usual, and just something to get us out the door before a whole day of school.  But when we went out for breakfast on a Saturday morning, I knew that I would have the lesiures of the weekend ahead.

Ironically, my favorite place to go out for breakfast was McDonalds.  Talk about a long, leisure-filled breakfast.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – I absolutely loved the fancy hotel buffet brunches with the soft served ice cream.  But McDonalds is what I would get excited about.  For one reason, and one reason only: the cheese danish.  You understand.

Does McDonalds even sell these gems anymore?  From what I recall, they were perfection.  A flaky pie crust filled with a usually, off-center dollop of sweetened cream cheese, all drizzled with a candy-sweet glaze.  It was absolutely amazing in my young eyes, a breakfast for champions.

I am happy to report that my tastes have matured since then.  But my love for cheese danishes is still just as strong.  So when I discovered a similar pastry during my recent trip to Puerto Rico, I was ecstatic.  Instead of pie crust, these pastries were flakier.  Instead of the blob, er I mean, dollop, of cheesecake-like center, these pastries were filled with cream cheese, barely kissed with a touch of sweetness.  Instead of the glaze, these were rolled in sugar, sparkling, and baked to a deep golden brown.  Instead of being flat and round, these pastries were long and cigar-like, kind of like it actually was older and more mature than any other cheese danish that I had before.  It was like the cheese danish of my dreams – only, it was sooo sooo much better.  It was, I’ll even say, the highlight of my trip – breakfast wins people over like that.

Quesitos (adapted from here)

Ingredients

1 package puff pastry, thawed

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

3 tbsp. powdered sugar

1 egg white

sugar, for sprinkling

honey, slightly warmed, for brushing on top

Method

1. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Mix until the sugar is well incorporated into the cream cheese.  Place into the fridge until ready for use.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Roll out thawed puff pastry on a floured surface until it is a 12 x 12 square.  Divide the puff pastry into 12 equal squares.  Prick each piece with several fork marks.

4. Take the cream cheese mixture out of the fridge.  Spread 1 tablespoon measure along one edge of one square, leaving about a quarter inch of space on both sides.

5. Fold over edges, and then roll the puff pastry until the cream cheese mixture is completely enclosed.  Press edges to seal.  Repeat with remaining 11 squares.

6. Place pastries, seal side down, onto the baking sheet.

7. Brush each pastry with the egg white.  Sprinkle the top of each pastry with granulated sugar.

8. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

9. Immediately move the pastries to a wire rack and brush with warmed honey to make the pastries glisten.