Recipe for Pastelito De Mil Hojas (Thousand Leaf Pastry) (Argentina)

Ingredients

4 cup all purpose flour
11 tablespoon butter; (1 quarter lb. stick
1 ; & 3 tablespoons), chilled
1 ; cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
2 egg yolks
1 cup ice water
1/2 cup butter; melted and cooled
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup quince paste; canned or
1 ; packaged, combined with
2/3 cup muscatel wine
1 syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vegetable shortening; for

Instructions

THE PASTRY: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 11 tablespoons of butter and the slat. With your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together until they blend and look like flakes of coarse meal. Gradually mix in the lemon juice and add the egg yolks, one at a time. Then, working the dough with your fingers continuously, add the water, 1/4 cup at a time. When all the water has been absorbed and the dough is quite smooth, place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pressing it down, pushing it forward, then turning it back on itself. Repeat this kneading process for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a dry towel and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Now, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough square about 32 inches long and 32 inches wide. Brush it evenly with some of the melted butter and sprinkle the butter lightly with a small dusting of flour. Smooth the flour over the surface of the dough with the palms of your hands until the four absorbs the butter and the surface looks dry. Fold the dough in half, creating a rectangle 16 by 32 inches. Butter and flour the top of the dough as before, spreading the flour carefully with your hands until it absorbs the butter. Bring the short ends of the dough together, creating a square 16 by 16 inches. Repeat the entire process twice again, producing a final square 8 by 8 inches. Now roll the dough into a 16 inch square, using the remaining flour to prevent it from sticking to the board. With a small knife or pastry wheel and a ruler, trim to a perfect 15 inch square. Measure; cut the square into 36 two and one half inch squares. In the center of each of 18 squares, place about 1 teaspoon of the quince filling. Lightly moisten the dough around the filling with cold water. Pair the filled squares with the remaining squares in such a way as to form individual 8 point stars, pressing the dough around the filling firmly to secure it. Pinch the stars into flowerlike shapes.

THE SYRUP: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil steadily with out stirring until the syrup reaches a temperature of 230 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer, or until a bit dropped into ice water immediately forms a coarse thread. Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover the syrup and keep it warm while you fry the pastelitos. Divide the shortening equally between 2 deep fryers or deep, heavy saucepans, using enough to make a depth of 3 inches in each pan. Simultaneously, heat one pan of fat to a temperature of 375 degrees and the other to 175 degrees. Drop as many pastelitos as the pan will comfortably hold into the 175 fat and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until the petals of dough begin to separate and open somewhat, basting with the fat once or twice. Do not let the pastelitos brown. Immediately transfer the pastelitos with a slotted spoon to the pan of 375 fat and fry on both sides for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. With tongs, remove the pastelitos from the fat and drain on paper towels. Then dip them in the warm syrup and place them on a serving plate. Fry and glaze the remaining pastelitos in precisely the same fashion. Serve at room temperature. Note: The pastelitos may also be filled with a cooked meat or seafood filling and served as an hor d'oeuvre. Naturally, the syrup is then omitted.





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