17 July 2020

PEPERONCINI HAM AND CHEESE CRESCENT ROLLS

Light, flaky, baked to golden perfection, crescent rolls are one of the most loved pastries, and for a good reason. Incredibly easy to make, quite forgiving and versatile, they make for a lovely snack, or a fantastic party appetiser; especially if made miniature. They are the perfect illustration of what a wonderful pastry can be created with such humble ingredients.
Admittedly, they are not the quickest pastry to make. Crescent rolls usually do require some time for the dough to rise, but they truly are worth the wait. They make it worthwhile will their crispy exterior, and the pillowy soft crumb.
The filling is quite straightforward; smoked ham and flavourful white Cheddar, enriched with just a speck of peperoncini. They are only ever so slightly spicy, just enough to give some more flavour to an already scrumptious filling. If you prefer your food spicier, add one more peperoncino.


Ingredients
For the dough
275 grams plain flour
100 millilitres warm water
15 grams fresh yeast
75 grams buttermilk
25 millilitres olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
100 grams white cheddar, grated
100 grams smoked ham, minced
2 small peperoncini, finely minced


Preparation
Put the fresh yeast in a small bowl, pour in the warm water, mix briefly, and let it sit in a warm spot until dissolved and bubbly. Sift the flour twice, put the majority in a large bowl, and make a little well in the middle. Pour in the yeast, buttermilk, salt, and the oil, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to form.
Keep adding the reserved flour and kneading by hand for at least 5 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and does not stick to your hands. Once the dough is ready, place it in a large bowl, and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave the dough to rise for about an hour, or until doubled. While the dough is rising, finely mince the peperoncini and the smoked ham, and roughly grate the cheese; then mix them together thoroughly.
After the dough has risen, knead it briefly on a floured work surface, and roll it into a large circle. Slice the circle into eight equal triangles. Place a portion of the ham and the cheese on the wider part of the triangle, and roll it towards the narrower side, lightly pressing the dough into itself so the filling does not leak out during baking.
Arrange the rolls on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C for about 15-20 minutes. If you wish, you can brush them with butter as soon as you take them out of the oven, for a soft crust.

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