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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mutabbaq

So as I was paging through (I guess it is not really paging through when your cookbook is on your iPad, perhaps swiping through?) the Jerusalem Cookbook on my fabulous new iPad mini, I came across these little gems:

 
It was my turn to bring dessert a few Wednesdays ago, so I decided to make it.

I didn’t quite know what it was but I did know that it was in the “sweets” section and it contained some type of creamy cheese and – in my opinion – that made it instantly good.  Reading on, it is a popular crispy confection called mutabbaq and the authors explain that it is sold in a pastry shop, under an Ethiopian church, in a gloomy room, at the bottom of a stairway, in Jerusalem.

Of course, in the original recipe, the filo dough is made by hand – complete with all the pulling and stretching histrionics involved – I just opened the door in the freezer section of the grocery store, stretched and pulled out a box of filo dough.  My former husband would often tell a story about his grandmother, mother and aunts spending an entire day making cheery strudel, recalling a similar dough making and stretching memory where they filled the confection with freshly picked cherries from the back yard. He said it was the best strudel he ever tasted. Even though opening the box was not as labor intensive (or perhaps gratifying) as making fresh filo dough, I would say that the results were just as satisfying.  This dessert prompted the comment… “We’ve had many delicious desserts, but this is the best by far.”

Mutabbaq
From: Jerusalem Cookbook

For the pastry
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
14 sheets filo pastry
2 cups ricotta cheese
9 oz goat cheese
2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (my addition)…orange would be nice too!
Chopped pistachios (unsalted)

For the syrup
6 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cup superfine sugar
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice…or orange juice

Heat the oven to 450°.  Mix the ricotta, goat cheese and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside.  Brush a baking sheet with some of the butter. Place a sheet of filo dough on and brush with some more butter.  Continue this step – brushing with butter between each layer – until 7 sheets of filo dough have been layered.  Spread the cheese mixture over the filo, leaving a ¾” edge.  Layer the remaining filo using the same layer-butter method.  Tuck edges underneath the pastry and brush with more butter.  Using a sharp knife, score the pastry into six even squares (do not cut all the way through).   
Also, score each newly formed square – only until you hit the cheese layer – with a “+” sign. I forgot this step but it makes for a nice presentation. Bake for 25 minutes, until crisp and golden. 

While the pastry is baking, prepare the syrup by placing the water and sugar in a pan over a medium heat.  Stir well and bring to a boil, add the juice and simmer for 2 minutes.  Set aside. When the pastry comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over the pastry and top with pistachios.  Serve warm.

This is so tasty…not waistline friendly, but incredibly good.       

4 comments:

Martha Perkins said...

I am totally making this on Saturday. Can't wait!

Martha Perkins said...

I am totally making this on Saturday. Can't wait!

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

Let me know how you like it!

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

Let me know how you like it!