In the same way I have a slight fear of meringues, I have a slight fear of pastry. Therefore, as in my last post for Lime, Cardamom and Coconut Meringues, I saw another opportunity to tackle something head on. However, instead of easing myself into it, I decided to try and tackle filo pastry, which is possibly one of the most difficult types of pastry to make. Admittedly, my decision to try this recipe was not through a desire for pastry-induced tears. I have been desperate, in the midst of trying to lose weight, for an excuse to try the chorizo jam made by eat17 that we stock the farm shop. I absolutely love chorizo and how well it goes with sweeter flavours so I thought the jam would be quite an interesting concoction. I’d heard of bacon jam before (which eat17 also do) so had high hopes. And I wasn’t disappointed. Obviously, there was a limited amount of sweetness in the jam with it having a savoury base, but the balance is just right, making it incredibly versatile. Hence my decision to put it in some filo parcels. By pairing it with a chorizo filling, it would work perfectly with tapas or as a cheeky snack if you’re feeling a bit piggy yourself! It combines spiciness with sweetness and saltiness, really boost the smokiness of the chorizo.
So, back to the filo pastry. I was not massively confident about how this would go but thought there would be no harm in giving it a go. For my first attempt I used a Michel Roux recipe and, I have to say, it was nothing short of a disaster. I followed the recipe to the letter and was left with an extremely wet dough. Although it did have some resistance and elasticity, it was basicallyslop. Therefore it is safe to say that, in this case, Michel Roux can sleep easy knowing that making the difficulty level ‘Master Baker’ was not completely unfounded, especially in my case.
I therefore turned to my not-so-wisely trusted resource for any baking problems I have: youtube. As I suspected the dough was far too wet as one youtuber even commented on how crumbly the dough was. I had predicted some sort of mishap and had bought some readymade filo pastry from the shops. I feel like it is fair to say ready-made filo pastry is a god send and really does remove any need to make your own, but as with my meringues, I decided to give them another shot. This time, however, it was a mistake. I used a recipe from a website called Low Cost Living and while I felt like I got a bit further, it was still wholly unsuccessful. The vagueness about the quantity of water was helpful in some respects, but I still added too much. Again the dough was sticky when it should have been more crumbly, meaning there wasn’t a lot of resistance when I went to stretch it out. I will try filo pastry again at some point (and please let me know any tips you may have!), but for now shop bought will do.
So, in spite of all my filo failures, the triangles still proved to be, in all modesty as per, pretty tasty. I feel like it is pretty difficult to go wrong with the flavours I used and, although they were slightly spicy, they would make a great canapé! They would still be lovely without the jam, but the sweetness that it brings gives it an edge that I think would be difficult to replicate in the same blended and subtle way. They definitely bring out the inner piggy (as my dad is discovered after the majority of them ended up in his belly) but pretty irresistible if I do say so myself. Anyway I hope you enjoy!
Chorizo and Manchego Filo Parcels (makes approx. 14)
For the filling:
- 125g Spicy Chorizo
- 1 Medium red onion
- 1 Red pepper
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Red chilli
- Salt and Pepper
- 1.5 tbsp Chorizo Jam
- Filo pastry, at least 5 sheets
- Sesame Seeds
- Olive Oil, for brushing and frying
- Remove your filo sheets from the fridge at least 2 hours before assembling but do not remove from packaging until ready to use.
- To make the filling, finely chop the chorizo, the medium red onion, the red pepper, the cloves and the red chilli.
- Start by frying the chorizo until it starts to release some of it’s oil. Then add the rest of the chopped ingredients to the pan and fry until soft. Once the mix is cooked, remove from the heat and stir through the chorizo jam. Season with salt and pepper, put to one side and leave to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 200C/ 180C Fan/ 360F.
- Take a sheet of your filo and divide it into 3 long strips. Brush each of these strips with a light layer of olive oil.
- Take your chorizo mix and place a small blob in one of the corners of your strip along with a small block of manchego (you could also grate the manchego instead if you want to be slightly more subtle with it). Fold the pastry up around the filling in a concertina style fold so all the edges seal themselves. Try and make sure you push the filling into the corners as much as possible without the pastry tearing. Repeat this process until all the filling has been used up.
- Remove your baking trays from the oven and place your triangles onto them. Brush the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and grate a small amount of manchego over each triangle. Then bake for 25 minutes, turning and switching the trays after 15.