date & ricotta scrolls

ricotta and date scrollsCan't get a date to save your life? Tired of being cold and alone? This recipe probably won't help you any. Not unless your issues are easily solved with dates of a different kind, and your cold solitude is best warmed up by some piping hot, yeasty goodness (in which case, this recipe just may solve your woes)!

After my initial yeast-failures (see hot cross buns that double as door stops, Easter-ish 2009), I was determined to make something that rose. The poor Bean was suffering from a strange malady that resulted in her falling asleep in strange places so all I had was a bag of dates (and an ever decreasing stockpile of ricotta) to while my afternoon away with.

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getting ready to mix up the yeast

I'll pre-warn you. These aren't (by any means) a sweet scroll. I mean, they look like they should be, right? But don't be put off for they are ever so satisfying when sliced in half and chewed up with a slathering of butter & your favourite jam. Think spicy & just a little bit fruity. (Resisting making a joke about dates here...)

spicy ricotta & date scrolls

ingredients:

3 tsp dried yeast
125ml warm water
2 tsp sugar
375g plain flour (2.5 C)
1 tsp mixed spice
50g butter
125ml warm milk
150g dates
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
3 tbs brown sugar
75ml warm water
200g ricotta

for the glaze:
¼C sugar
¼ tsp mixed spice
¼C water

method:

1. Yeast first. Make sure the water is lukewarm by sticking your finger in it (you don't want to kill the poor carbon dioxide producing beasties). If your finger is burning, it's too hot. Wait until it has cooled down before testing it again. With a different finger this time. Oh, and you should probably wrap that first finger up in some gauze.

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bubble bubble toil & trouble...

2. Add the now-lukewarm water to the yeast & sugar. I used a little whisk to combine it all. It should smell musty and little bubbles should start to form. Leave it for 5 minutes while you fix the rest of the stuff up.

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check out that yeasty goodness! it's ali-i-ive!

3. "The rest of the stuff?" Yes dear. The flour (which you should sift with the spice and the salt) needs to be in a nice big bowl. No, not that one. The other one. The one that has more room in it for when the dough rises. Good? Good.

4. Now that the yeast has come alive (and threatened to spill out of that little bowl you mixed it in) it's high time we put it all together. Time to add the yeast mix to the flour mix. Tip it in, and while you're there, tip the butter (melted please) and the warm milk in too.

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the dough after kneading

5. Time to get physical (with the bread dough people - the dates come later *winkwink*). Mix the ingredients together in the bowl until you can stir no more, then dump the contents out on a floured bench and knead for your life. You know how to do this right? Heel of the palm, quarter turn, heel of the palm, quarter turn, repeat ad finitum. Well, for ten or so minutes anyway. Until the dough is nice and elastic. (Elastic = being able to stick your finger in it and have the dough bounce back).

6. Elastic? Fantastic. Dump the mound in a well oiled bowl & glad wrap it. Now tuck it away somewhere warm for an hour so it can rise. I tucked my bowl in with the Bean (who at this point was asleep on the table).

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chopping up the dates

7. While things are rising and resting, clean your kitchen up a touch & get to those dates. We're chopping them up first. Think six to eight pieces per date. Now split them into two groups. Group 1 (about 100g of the dates) will go into a small pot. Group 2 gets to sit around and do sweet, sweet nothing.

8. Add the bicarb soda + brown sugar + water to Group 1 in a small pot over the a low heat on the stove. It will bubble a bit and then reside. Cook it down until it is paste-like in texture.

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and then *POOF!* your dough has doubled

9. *Ding!* An hour is up and so is the Bean. "No... my nesting. Don't steal my eggs..." she mutters sleepily as I prise the dough away from her. It has risen tremendously.

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rolling out the dough

10. So time to punch it down and roll it out on a floured surface to a rectangle-ish shape. Don't over knead it at this stage. The rolling out will do the job nicely.

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spreading the filling out

11. Group 1 dates get spread out over most of the dough. Leave a strip at the end so it binds nicely. Then sprinkle Group 2 dates over the top of the Group 1 date mix. And, finally, add broken up clumps of ricotta over the top of the lot.

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roll & cut'em up

12. Starting at the end that is furthest from the blank strip, roll the dough up like a swiss roll (or a sushi) and then cut it into eight pieces. More or less.

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tucked in with the Bean for a second prove

13. Arrange your slices in a well oiled baking dish, glad wrap & tuck it in with the Bean for another 20 minutes. ("Hah? What's this?" she will mutter sleepily. "Your eggs" I will say "They don't smell like eggs." the Bean will reply).

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just baked datey goodness

14. And once the 20 minutes is done, a speedy 35 minute stint in a 180C oven. And while they bake, whip your glaze together. All the ingredients in a small pot, stir, stir, stir. Done. A quick cool down and then a brush of glaze with a deft hand.

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piping hot and ready for consumption

15. Et voila! Woes solved. At least momentarily.

5 bites more:

FFichiban said...

Oh do put the date joke in ;) You know u want too and these look yummmmm ^^! chheesssee

Stephcookie said...

Yummo, that's exactly the type I've been craving with these cold mornings. I just bought a bag of dates while I was grocery shopping today, what a coinkydink!

Yas said...

Oh how do you know that I like anything with Ricotta? Looks delish!!

shez said...

FFichiban: i love lame jokes :) especially ones about dates.

Stephcookie: coinkydink indeed! you know what they say about great minds...

Yas: i didn't know! (but now i dooooo!) thanks dude :)

Y said...

They look very very delicious!

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