Friday 19 February 2010

Pan Relleno

It was the last class of the Tartas, pizzas y empanadas course last night, and we made pan relleno, or stuffed bread. There are three fillings; a salty mix of onions, leeks, tomato and mozzarella; corn in butter, flour and milk; and caramelized sweeet potato and quince.

Los profesores prepare the dough and the fillings as we watch

We make three different types of dough; one with olive oil for the corn; one with milk for the onion and tomato; and one with sugar for the sweet pastries. It's all pretty straightforward, until it comes to assembling the bloody things. They didn't show us exactly how to assemble them until we had already rolled our dough out, so my sweet ones were too rolled too thin, and I cut the squares too big. You have to spray them with a fair amount of water to help the dough stick too - there was definitely too much flour kicking around, and plenty of mine started flopping open once I'd pinched the corners. But you live and learn.

Me and my little tarts

The onion and tomato one is nothing special. But the corn is incredibly good. With practice, I guess you master the art of preventing the filling from spilling out of the horn shaped bread, and when that happens, you'd have a pretty good trick up your sleeve. The sweet ones are great too - our batch was a little over cooked, but they work in principle, and knowing what they're supposed to look like now, I'd be fairly confident of nailing them next time. All I need to do now is move to an apartment with a proper kitchen, and I can start.

At tasting time, the other guys in the class crack open bottles of champagne, and one of them even produces a couple of strawberry daiquiris, though no-one is quite sure where from. they hand out certificates, which is hilarious - the guy from Tucumán, Juan Martin, insists that the profesor puts his hat on when he gives them out - and everyone cheers and claps. Didn't get that at Ballymaloe.

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