If you have not yet been fortunate enough to experience the little island in the heart of the Mediterranean but happen to be visiting London you will find a cafe in Fulham Road called Parparellu. A big dose of nostalgia and memory lane for all natives gone afar no longer able to bask in the island’s warmth and hospitality. Here they will find familiar things, familiar food and possibly familiar faces.
Joe Pace who opened the place a year ago is a charming host and the buzz in the cafe is electric…the menu offers a mix of simple traditional island food with cannoli, kwarezimal, qasatat, timpana, Fenkata and street food includes freshly baked pastizzi.
And as Parparellu celebrates its first year this week, I am today making individual ricotta pies in short crust pastry known on the island as qassatat. These are individual savory ricotta pies in a short pastry crust recognizable by the open fluted surface where you can get a glimpse of the golden baked ricotta top before digging in.
You will need :
For the dough
1 lb flour
8 oz chilled butter cut up in cubes
pinch of salt
about 1/2 cup water
Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the salt.
Add the egg and work in and then the water gradually. You may not need to add all the water. Knead the dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
For the filling
1/2 cup grated Parmegiano Regiano
Pinch of Salt
Mash up the ricotta. Add all the other ingredients and stir until even.
making a Qassata
Roll out the dough and using a 4 inch circular cutter, cut out rounds on a well floured surface.
Put a spoon of the ricotta mixture in the middle if the circle.
Pinch the edge of the dough into pleats until you have done it all around. You are trying to get an open funnel surface. Either pipe some more of the ricotta mix into the pie to fill the neck of the funnel. You can also use a teaspoon but do not fill it right to the top as the filling will expand and rise.
Brush the pastry with egg wash.
Bake at 200C for about half an hour until they are a golden color.
Serve hot or cold. I like to serve mine with a simple salad.
My individual ricotta pies !
And here is some of the food being served at Parparellu :