Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Perfecting the art

This is a portuguese pastry people usually cook around carnival. It's called Filhoz or in the plural: filhozes.
Pronouned fee-low-zeys hahaha. No. I don't think the LH sound exists in english. It's like the double L in spanish, if you can relate to that. Like in amarillo. I'm not good at this, nevermind. You might as well make a new name for it.
It's not even possible to explain how to pronounce things like this in english, I don't know why dictionaries bother to try. I was just making fun of that. It's how a dictionary would explain it problably.
Anyway, they're gooood.... but they have to be done properly. I've been trying to perfect how I do it, and I'm excited. I'm getting closer to te perfect Filhóz. This is a science project of mine.
So I'm posting the recipe of how I will do them the next time I do them. I will use as less milk as possible and more egg yokes and more orange skin.
So I'll use milk, sugar, normal cooking vegetable oil (or olive oil or butter, but I think the oil is lighter and doesn't interfere with how the other ingredients taste), white flour, yeast, Port wine, orange or lemon zest, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
First, put 150 ml of milk in a pan, with 1/4 cup of oil, and 2 table spoons of sugar - the theory is still untested, but i think the less sugar you put the better, because it they'll have sugar coating in the end already....) But anyway, i'll do 2 spoons of sugar. Heat the milk, oil, sugar mix in the pan until it ALMOST boils. This part of the recipe I copy exactly from the cinnamon rolls here except i use much smaller quantities of ingredientes she's using there.
-> Turn the heat off and let it cool untill it's not hot, just warm.
-> Then it's safe to put 1 bag of yeast, or about a table spoon of yeast. Just sprinkle i on top and let it be absorved for a minute. Check the photos on the website above, they're very enlightening. Then give it a stir to help the absortion.
-> Then I'll add zest from 1 orange and maybe a bit of juice from it. I'm keeping in mind I want to add as less liquids as possible because my plan is to add as many egg yokes a I can later on. My theory is that will make them yummier then these from today.
today I learned, I think, how to make them light and fluffy as a cloud. I'll share that later along the recipe.
-> Mix. Start adding the flour now, 2 cups of flour to start to make it pasty. Maybe 3 cups. I want it to be very pasty, then I'll add 8 EGG YOKES!!!!! yes. Maybe more if I go crazy enough. I want them to be bright yellow, because the best Filhozes I've ever had were bright yellow. Maybe even 10 egg yokes. If that doesn't cut it I'll give up and just use food coloring alogn with half the eggs. I'm not using the egg whites because it will make it necessary to add more flour, and that will make it whiter and less flavourful (I want to enhance the orange and port wine flavor....keep in mind this is my theory. I'm learning from trial-error here, along with some reading and some experience. )
Now.... I'll dd the port wine sometime along the recipe. maybe when i add the orange zest. Most people use either the orange OR the port wine, or even lemon, or nothing at all. But his is my recip and I want both orange and port wine. They're not incompatible at all. But one of them might be enough if you want to keep it simple. That might be the best actually. I really want to enhance to egg yokes flavour too. so I might skip the port wine altogether if I have the heart. I'm to attached to it. it's good. I'm hoping all the flavours (orange, port wine & egg yokes) will be present. That's my goal in this recipe. It's very yummy in my imagination.
So, supposing you add the orange zest and port wine (about 2 table spoons by the way) together, now you'll just keep adding flour untill it's a roll of dough that you can punch around.
-> Make a big ball now and let it rest for an hour and a half. The bigger the dough is the longer it should rest. 3 hours is the best. Keep it in a warm place, so the yeast can grow and prosper, with a towel or two covering the pan.
-> 2 hours later it should have tripled it's size. it didn't. This is why cooking is so challenging. I think it might have been either because of the port whine...the alcohol migt have been to agressive to the yeast (this is also why you don't add the salt yet, it hurts the yeast!) or, it was because the milk was still hot when I put the yeast in, and it might have killed it a bit. Or less likely, it wasn't warm enough in the kitchen. But experience tells me unless it is extremely cold, 2 hours would be still enough time for it to rise. The cold makes the yeast slower. So I think it was the hot milk... Anyway, this mistake made me discover how to make them really light and fluffy, this is what I did and what I'll do next time, (because I've been reading bread recipes and this is what they do too), I'll share the secret in a minute:
->I'll add 1 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Then, I put olive oil all over my hands and punched and stirred it around a bit, and then - here's the secret to fluffly: let it rise AGAIN! Wait for a couple of hours. I took a nap and then went shopping, and when I came back the dough had risen! More then double it's size. I also heat the pan a bit before leaving. to make the yeast happy.
-> then you just heat a high pan half full of vegetable oill, and deep fry the dough. but first snap the dough into litle balls, flatten them and strech them out like a mini pizza and put them in the very hot oil. when it turn golden brown turn them around. I fry about 3 or 4 at the same time.
-> I was mind set about not having them be greasy, so i wanted my hands to be very oiled so I could mold them without any pointy edges that usually end up burned and greasy, and I wanted the oil to be very hot, so it wouldn't take long to fry and so not absorve alot of oil. Learn from my mistakes: flatten the dough so it won't be raw in the inside and burned in the outside. That's that very hot oil will do.
I flattened mine, streched them actually, like a medium high pizza or less and turn the heat to minimum and they were perfect from then on.
After thy're all nice golden brown take them out into a bowl will lots of white sugar and cinnamon, maybe one or 2 table spoons of cinnamon to 1 big cup of sugar. and roll them around in the stuff. One by one. Then put them in a plate with napkins on the bottom, so they will absorve excess oil. They're not hard to make at all. Frying them can be a pain, because it's usually big quantities of dough. But they're delicious. Great for lunch and even breakafst, or middle of the night. or...the sky is the limit :)
Writing this was more tiring then the baking! Feww...

1 comment:

fernandojmonteiro said...

Love the way you push cooking to the limits.

Keep cooking and keep posting.