Arnedo, a small Spanish town in the region of La Rioja is famous for their fardelejos, little fried pocket pastries, filled with a sweet, rich ground almond filling. These pastries are made especially for Arnedo's Patron Saint festival in September.
First the buttery crust is made, then a filling of ground almonds, sugar, eggs and lemon is prepared. Roll out the pastry crust very thin, dot with a tablespoon of almond filling and seal. Fry until golden, then drain. Dust with powdered sugar for a delicious treat. Fardelejos originated with the Moors, and are popular at Christmas, but are tasty for a snack any time of year.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 18 pieces
- Pastry Crust
- 8 oz (125 ml) lard or vegetable shortening
- 8 oz (125 ml) water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 7 cups (900 gr) all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 lb (500 gr) ground almonds
- 1 1/2 cups (300 gr) granulated sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 16-24 oz (250-375 ml) vegetable oil for frying
- powdered (confectioners) sugar for garnish
Note: Purchase peeled almonds and grind in a food processor, or purchase whole, raw almonds - then blanch (peel) before grinding in a food processor.
First prepare the dough. Pour water, vegetable shortening and salt into a small saucepan and heat on high. When the vegetable shortening melts, remove from heat. Carefully pour water-shortening mixture into a medium size mixing bowl.
Add the flour and stir with a fork until just slightly mixed. Turn out the dough onto a cutting board and begin kneading the dough until completely mixed. Form the dough into a ball. Wrap it in a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot while preparing the filling.
Prepare the almond filling. In a medium size mixing bowl, place the eggs, granulated sugar and lemon zest, and mix. Add the ground almonds and mix thoroughly.
Lightly flour the cutting board. Pinch off a handful of dough and roll out the dough very thin. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the dough. Fold dough over the top of the filling and cut the dough into a rectangle about 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/3 inches (4 x 6 cm), or in a semi-circle. Press the edges all around with your fingers or use a fork. Continue rolling and filling the fardelejos until all the dough is used.
Pour vegetable oil to a depth of about 3/4-inch a large, heavy bottom frying pan. Heat on medium high heat. Fry the fardelejos until they are golden. Remove and allow to drain on paper towels. When the fardelejos have cooled, dust with powdered sugar and serve.