Deep-Fried Cheese-Filled Pastries
These pastries are served all over the island. The typical cheeses used are young pecorino and a cows'-milk cheese called peretta, similar to provolone.
2 cups fine semolina
4 tbsp. lard, melted
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. provolone, thinly sliced into 16 pieces
1 cup freshly grated young pecorino
Mild olive or vegetable oil
8 tbsp. Sardinian miele amaro
(bitter honey or any good-quality honey, warm)
1. Shape semolina into a mound on a work surface. Use your hand to make a well in the center. Add lard, egg, and 6 tbsp. water to well and lightly beat together with a fork. Continue beating, gradually incorporating semolina from the inside edge of the well into egg mixture. When dough becomes too stiff to work with a fork, knead with both hands until a smooth dough forms. Form dough into a ball, cover with a clean damp kitchen towel, and set aside to rest for 1 hour.
2. Divide dough into 16 pieces, shaping each piece into a ball. Cover dough balls with the clean damp kitchen towel to prevent dough from drying out. Working with 2 balls of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface into 4" x 5 1/2" ovals. Put 2 slices provolone and 2 tbsp. pecorino in center of 1 of the ovals. Moisten edge of dough with water, cover with second oval, then press edges to seal. Using a fluted pastry wheel, trim outside edges of dough to make pastry an even oval. Repeat rolling, stuffing, sealing, and trimming process with remaining dough balls and cheese. Set pastries aside.
3. Pour oil into a wide medium pot to a depth of 2" and heat over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 350° on a candy thermometer. Deep fry two or three pastries at a time, turning once, until puffed slightly and golden blistered, 3-4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pastries to paper towels to drain. Serve pastries hot, drizzzled with honey.