Empanadillas de Membrillo

Quince Pies With Ricotta and Honey

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    12

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

HONEY IS HIGHLY REGARDED IN SPAIN. IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE A NATURAL PRODUCT THAT REFLECTS THE FLORA OF THE REGION, WITH SOME REGIONS PRODUCING HONEY THAT IS MORE HIGHLY PRIZED THAN OTHERS. THE HONEY FROM SIERRA DE FRANCIA USED TO BE MADE FROM HONEYCOMB COLLECTED FROM HIVES MADE IN HOLLOW LOGS. HONEY WAS ONE OF THE AREA’S FEW PRODUCTS AND WAS TRADED FOR GOODS AT THE NEARBY CITY OF SALAMANCA. SPANISH HONEY IS MUCH MORE HEADY AND FLORAL THAN AUSTRALIAN HONEY — OUR LEATHERWOOD HONEY IS PERHAPS CLOSEST IN FLAVOUR TO SPANISH FOREST HONEY. THESE LITTLE PASTRIES, FILLED WITH GOLDEN QUINCE AND RICOTTA CHEESE FLAVOURED WITH CINNAMON AND HONEY, ARE LOVELY AND SWEET AND BEST SERVED WARM.

Ingredients

  • 2 quince(s)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) calvados (apple brandy)
  • 80 g ( oz/ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200 g (7 oz/¾ cup) ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons leatherwood honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, to dust

Empanadilla Dough

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra, to dust
  • 50 g ( oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 10 g (¼ oz) fresh yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk
  • 75 g ( oz) unsalted butter, softened

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3).

Peel and core the quinces and cut each into eight wedges. Place in a baking dish with the calvados, sugar, cinnamon stick, half the lemon zest and 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) water. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil, pour in another 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) water and turn the quince. Bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or until the quince is tender, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, for the empanadilla dough, sift the flour into a bowl, add the sugar and a pinch of salt and combine well. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and add to the flour with the butter and 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms, then mix the dough for another 2–3 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, sprinkle with a little extra flour, cover with a cloth and stand in a warm place for 1 hour.

Remove the cooled quince from the poaching liquid and cut into slices 5 mm (¼ inch) thick. Place in a bowl with the ricotta, honey, ground cinnamon and the remaining lemon zest and gently combine.

Reheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Cut the empanadilla dough into 12 equal portions. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface into a 12 cm ( inch) round. Place a heaped tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on one half of each round and brush the other edge with a little beaten egg. Fold over to form a half-moon shape, press to seal well, then crimp the edges using a fork and place on two lightly floured baking trays. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden.

Dust with icing sugar while still hot and serve warm.