Monday, October 19, 2015

Recipe: Chechen Pumpkin Tarts- Khingalsh' (Рецепт Хингалш)

Fall is here again! Pumpkin-everything season is upon us. Instead of the typical breads, muffins, and lattes, try tickling your taste buds and impressing your friends with this interesting alternative.

Khingalsh is a delicious Chechen snack, often eaten with tea or after a meal as a dessert. The simplest description might be a pumpkin tart or pumpkin crepes, but really it's quite unique. 

this is what a pile of real khingalsh looks like...scroll down to see my attempt

I tried this dish when I was in Chechnya, and would have described it as stretchy, thin, buttery blini (Russian style crepes) filled with pumpkin puree. It is just a smidge sweet, rich and buttery, and, if made correctly, a huge crowd pleaser!

Flour                   4 cups
Water                  1 1/3 cups
Salt                      1 tsp
Baking soda        1/3 tsp

Pumpkin guts      1 can or fresh from a 1.5 kg pumpkin
Salt                      1/2 tsp
Sugar                   3-4 tblsp
Butter                  ~2 sticks 
Spices- every chef has their own preference. For a sweeter flavor, add a dash of cinnamon and a capfull of vanilla extract. Some people add onions and a salty cheese. Caramelized onions can add texture to the sweeter variation, or you can even add a dash of thyme!

Here's how you do it:

Make the dough...
1. Sift the flour, or whisk it a lot if you're like me and don't have a sifter or don't want to deal with washing it

2. In a separate bowl, combine water, salt, baking soda, and a handful of your flour. Stir until it is watery but consistent. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, covered with a damp cloth (optional).

3. Make a pile on your work space with the rest of your flour.

4. Dollop a small ball of the gooey dough into your flour pile, roll it until it is well coated in the flour. Roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin into a large, thin circle
this is too ovally- aim for a more circular shape
also, do this in a pile of flour
 Make the filling...

1. Scoop out your pumpkin innards, take out the seeds (it can be helpful to soak pumpkin slices in water to loosen the flesh), or dump a can of pumpkin in a bowl

2. Add whatever spices you desire- I used cinnamon and vanilla because I am a sugar addicted American- plus sugar and salt. 
Taste this mix and adjust it to your preference!

3. Spread the 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto one half of the rolled out dough circle

5. Fold the dough over so it makes a semi-oval shape- like a cheburek or an empanada. Crimp the edges to seal it.

6. Put the khingal directly on a pan at medium-high heat. Do not grease the pan. Each side should fry for about a minute.
7. Prepare two bowls- one full of recently boiled water, and one full of melted butter.

8. When you pull the khingal off the pan, dip it first in the bowl of water, then either dip it in the butter or put it on a plate and brush it liberally with butter

9. Brush or pour remaining butter over khingalsh

10. Slice them up...and bam! Enjoy your khingalsh.

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