Savoury Cheese Cakes (Pastizzi)

For the Dough:
– 500g flour
– 250g unsalted butter chilled & diced
– 1 teaspoon lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– ice cold water
For the Filling *:
– 500g ricotta / fresh cheeselets
– 1 egg beaten
– salt and pepper

Dough Preparation **:
Sieve the flour. Add the salt. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Add water gradually to make elastic dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and does not stick. The resulting dough should be very soft. Roll out the dough, making it twice as long as it is wide. Spread 1/3 of the butter chunks over the dough. Fold the lower third toward the top. Fold the upper third toward the bottom on top of the first fold, to end up with a three-layered rectangle. Now turn the folded dough 900 clockwise so that the left side is at the top. Flatten the pastry and roll out gently as before. Once again place more butter chunks, fold over the edges and flatten the pastry. Leave to set in a cool place 15 minutes ***. Repeat the rolling out, turning over, flattening and chilling of the pastry three more times. The pastry is then ready for use.

Filling Preparation:
Mash the ricotta. Add the egg and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut off pieces of the dough the size of a small disc. Flatten each discs gently to the desired pastry thickness. Put a tablespoon of the filling mixture into the centre of each disc. Turn two edges of each disc to seal giving a boat shape cheesecake. Bake in a preheated oven (220°C fan forced) for approximately 30 minutes till pastry is golden in colour.

* A variant of this savoury cheesecake is the pea cake where the ricotta, egg filling is replaced with mashed peas with curry seasoning.
** This is not an easy to make dough but its worth the hassle as, once cooked, it gives light crisp layers that melt in the mouth, this thanks to air trapped between the dough layers.
*** Store the dough covered with a damp cloth in the refrigerator.

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