By Débora Chomski
“Recently I found out through televisión that sambussak (pronounced:"sembuzas")are patties of Persian origin eaten by the soldiers during military campaigns. But for me, up to that day, the sambussak are, and always have been,the best cheese-patties in the world, made by my grandmother Margarita. I remember that, when I was a child and she made them (now she is 90 and doesn't make them very often anymore), they never made it to the table. Later, as an adolescent, at that age when you don't want to have anything to do with your family, I asked her for the recipe, and she gave it to me from her memory (I believe she never had it written down on a paper). I tried to make them together with one of my sisters and it was a complete disaster. Something went wrong: the dough didn't bind and couldn't be stretched. So I called my grandmother and she gave me the recipe again, but again it didn't work. When I called her for the third time, she said: "Why don't you come along with your sisters to watch how I make them; afterwards you stay to eat them and we'll talk for a while?" It meant spending a whole day! Despite our excuses, in the end we went, and she showed us the tricks so that the sambussak turned out to perfection.And my grandmother had an entertaining day, in company of her granddaughters, just as she likes it.
Here's the recipe. The tricks are the following: don't knead the dough too much, just until the ingredients blend, and put the dough into the fridge before extending it. I hope you will like it.
(These measures for the filling are 'approximate': if it seems a bit too liquid at the beginning, wait a few minutes until the cheese has absorbed the liquid; if it turns out too dry, add more cream)
Mix all the ingredients for the dough until it is smooth and comes off from the fingers. Extend on a floured surface. Cut out disks with a round dough-cutter. Mix together the ingredients for the filling and distribute them on the disks of dough. Close the disks and press a fork down at the borders to seal them. Brush with egg yolk and put some sesame seeds on top.
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