July 03, 2011

Rosemary, olive and feta horns

Horns? What horns? Don't they look like a rustic version of croissants? Well, I suppose they do, in a very remote way, but I wouldn't dare calling them croissants when the only similarity is the shape. In fact, I think I would get hate-mail from all the Frenchies out there (including my dear brother who is well on his way in turning in to one) dared I call these croissants. Thus, in Finland, we call them 'horns', and they can be savoury or sweet, often filled with ham, cheese or jam. My mum used to make the softest cheese horns and occasionally sweet jam horns, filled with raspberry or strawberry jam.

I've filled these whole spelt horns with a tasty mixture of kalamata olives, fresh rosemary and feta cheese. I love the salty filling inside the wholemeal pastry. These little bundles are a perfect thing to pack along for your winter (or summer, depending on what side of the globe you are) picnic, instead of traditional rolls or filled sandwiches. Wholemeal spelt flour works really well, but you can use wholemeal (normal) flour just as well.

Rosemary, olive and feta horns
(makes 12-14)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
50g kalamata olives, pitter and roughly chopped
50g feta cheese, roughly chopped

400ml milk (low-fat is fine)
11g dry yeast
400-500g whole spelt flour (organic, biodynamic)
1 large, free-range egg
50ml olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Combine the rosemary, olives and feta cheese in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and warm it up in the microwave until warm (about 50 seconds on high). The milk should be about 42C for dry yeast.

3. Mix the dry yeast into about 100 grams of flour, then whisk the mixture into the milk. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place in a warm (but not hot) spot for about 15 minutes. In this time the mixture should be bubbly and frothy.

4. Break the egg into a bowl and whisk it lightly with a fork. Save the other half of the egg for later. Pour half of the egg into the yeast mixture. Then add the oil and the salt and half of the flour. Mix well to combine.

5. Keep adding flour and kneading the dough until it's soft and doesn't stick to your hand. Place the dough on a clean surface dusted with flour and roll the dough into a narrow, 1-2 centimetre thick disk.

6. Cut the disk into triangles and place one tablespoon of the olive filling onto each triangle. Roll the triangles from the broad side down (towards the tip) into horn shaped rolls. Place the rolls (leaving enough space between each roll) onto baking sheets covered with baking paper and cover the sheets with a tea towel. Leave to rise for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the temperature and the flour you are using this time may vary between 20-40 minutes. The well risen roll should be soft to touch.)

7. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 225C.

8. Brush the rolls with the remaining egg, then bake the horns for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack (covered with a tea towel) and serve warm.