Monday, 25 August 2008

Portuguese sweet chickpea pockets

Polish: ciecierzyca
Pashto: نخود
Macedonian: Леблебија
Greek: Ρεβιθιά
Bengali: ছোলা
Mapunzugun: kalfan
German: Kichererbsen
Arabic: حمص
Thai: ถั่วหัวช้าง
Slovak: cícer baraní

Don't be angry on me. I know we have still 4 months until Christmas but I couldn't wait... Anyway, I wouldn't mind if someone makes for instance pascha (Polish -also Russian and Ukrainian- Easter fresh cheese dessert) in December or fry Polish Christmas carp in the summertime... :) So here they are: delicious Portuguese pockets with sweet chickpea-lemon filling which just melt in your mouth: azevias de grão, a Portuguese Christmas dessert dish, absolutely delicious!!

(to make 25-28 pockets)
250 gr flour
75 gr butter* (cold)
1 egg
a pinch of salt
a bit of water, if needed to knead the dough

250 gr chickpeas (canned)
150 gr sugar
zest from 1 lemon or 1/2 orange
a pinch of cinnamon
2 egg yolks
(optionally: 1 handful ground almonds)

+ (optionally***) oil to fry
+ powdered sugar to sprinkle

1. Find a good movie and put a comfortable pillow under your back while peeling chickpeas (yes, you should throw away that thin "membrane"...)

2. Knead all the dough ingredients together. You may need a little bit of water to make your dough elastic but it is optionally. I think that you can replace butter with *vegetable oil or *margarine. Some recipes require the use of *lard. If you have nothing against this ind of fat you should do your azevias with lard exactly, cause it is the most traditional and typical way. Set the dough in the fridge until you are finished with the filling.

3. Blend "naked" chickpeas with lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon (and optionally almonds) and yolks. If needed, add some water (but I didn't). I must admit that I didn't add cinnamon. When I prepare something with cinnamon, I always add too much of this spice cause I just love it and then everything tastes so similar and cinnamon taste dominates. I wanted to feel chickpeas and not necessarily cinnamon, so I just added two times more lemon zest and the taste was fantastic!

4. Roll the dough thinly on your workplace which should be sprinkled with some flour. Cut rings using the edge of a glass, mug or bowl, depending on the size that you wish to obtain. Proportional, put a tea- or tablespoon of a filling and close dough rings forming half-moons. Fry (***or bake!), sprinkle with powdered sugar and control yourself to not eat half of the portion before serving to your family!

**some more information about the filling:
you can serve azevias with chickpea filling, the one I just wrote abozt, but azevias are also eaten with sweet potato (azevias de batata doce), kind of sweet white pumpkin (azevias de gila / chila) or white beans (azevias de feijão). I can't help you with gila/chila cause I've never seen it nor tasted, but if you prefer to make a filling with sweet potato or white beans then just cook those vegetables and add same ingredients as you would add when choosing chickpeas. Just beware cause sweet potato is already a bit sweet. Some recipes omit yolks. Good luck in experimenting! If it is still too difficult and you would like to have an exact recipe how to prepare similar pockets with sweet potato, I will post very soon a very similar, but Spanish recipe, to make truchas de boniato, Canarian Christmas sweet potato delicacy.

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