My daughter and I decided to experiment with 14th and 15th century recipes for raviolis. We had to redact the recipes ourselves, working from the lists given but having to figure out quantities by taste and goal.
We were working from a website that looked like a good class handout for a Society for Creative Anachronism workshop, called "Pasta Class" and found at this link: http://www.katjaorlova.com/PastaClass.html
After successfully redacting three fillings for boiled raviolis, we decided to try a fried version. The Pasta Class document lists some fried raviolis and some other books we perused mentioned them, too. We wanted something sweet, so we adapted the recipe for Emeles, a medieval almond cake, as the filling.
England + Italy = Middle East
2.5 ounces ground almonds
1/2 ounce graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons honey
Mix the ingredients well. Like in the previous filling recipe, we chose not to use an egg to bind the mixture for two reasons: one was that we made a small amount of filling and one egg might have been too much and the other was that the honey seemed to be doing a good job of binding by itself. It went into the refrigerator while we worked on the dough.
We used graham cracker crumbs because I already had them handy. Dried bread crumbs would work well, too.
The mixture turned out to look like what we expected for the Emeles:
|Nutty, sweet, and spiced|
We rolled the entire batch out into a rectangle, cut it in half, and covered one half with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
We scored the bottom dough and portioned out the filling. Oops! There was not enough filling for what we planned, so we used some of the leftover cheddar/bacon/chicken filling for the rest.
|I should have doubled the filling amounts as I had first planned|
This time I fried them a few at a time in about 1/4 inch of hot vegetable oil until they were a delightful brown on both sides and crispy.
|Too many at once and the oil has a hard time staying at the right temperature|
This was incredibly tasty. In fact, they tasted like mini-baklavas! We were not expecting that and it was quite a treat. They were crispy, spicy-sweet, and nutty with a depth of flavor from the honey. They were not greasy -- I credit frying only a few at a time.
The only thing I would change is that we didn't roll the dough out to be as thin as we had for the boiled raviolis. It wasn't translucent. I think the raviolis would have been crispier if we had. I'm not complaining, mind you! They were delicious. I would do it again to surprise people with the flavor.
One thought: If I were feeling lazy or in a hurry, I might use purchased won-ton skins instead. They are thin and pre-cut and I know they fry up well.