You'll end up with sixteen fried cheese rolls.
These are a traditional Syrian wonder, and a great appetizer for any party: crunchy fried goat cheese cigars that get dipped into honey. Wow. The real key here is the pepper: Aleppo, a dark red, musky but still fruity, cumin-scented, medium-heat pepper. Bruce has fallen so in love with the stuff that he's swapped out the black peppercorns in his everyday grinder for these little wonders.
1. Mix the fresh chèvre or soft goat cheese, cilantro, pepper, and one of the egg yolks in a bowl until creamy and smooth.
2. Whisk the 2 remaining egg yolks in a second bowl until creamy and light.
3. Put a spring roll wrapper on a dry, clean part of your counter so that it makes a diamond in front of you (one point facing you). Put 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese filling on it, situated a little toward you from the center, a little toward the "bottom" point.
4. Roll the bottom point over the filling. Then fold the points to the left and right over the filling. Brush the remaining "top" corner with a little of the beaten egg yolks and roll the spring roll over so that it sticks to this egg-washed corner. Press it a little to seal if you need to. One tip: Make sure you roll fairly tightly. Air pockets inside the packet will expand and can pop open as the thing is fried.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining wrappers, filling, and egg wash.
6. Fill a sauté pan or a high-sided skillet with peanut oil to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Clip a deep-frying thermometer to the inside of the pan and heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Drop 4 to 6 briwat rolls into the hot oil—do not crowd the pan—and adjust the temperature so that the oil stays right around 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry until golden, about 6 minutes, turning once. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack with paper towels underneath it to catch any grease drips. Continue frying more. Once you've got them all done, set them on a serving platter with a bowl of honey on the side to dip them in one at a time. Pure bliss.
More to Know
While the Aleppo pepper is one key to this dish, another is the honey. Think about it: The tastes are pretty simple; each flavor is important. Go with a fragrant, floral, artisanal honey—like star thistle or eucalyptus. Or try one of the dark tree honeys, like chestnut, oak, or even the herbaceous pine.
This page created June 2011
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