My hundred little cangrejitos just left the kitchen on the way to the Afro-Cuban art thingamajig. I hope there’ll be some actual Cubans there who’ll be able to tell me if I got close or not. All those who’ve been following the blog the last few days may remember that cangejitos are these things, little pastries filled with ham and mustard. Only they’re not crescents, they’re crab-shaped (which is what the word actually means). With a little work I managed to find a book, of all things, that provided the right shaping instructions.
It’s actually very easy. You start with Post-it(™) note-sized pieces of dough and cut them diagonally into triangles. Taking one of the triangles, you turn it so the long side is closest to you, so you’re looking down at a pyramid. You put a teaspoon-sized ball of the chopped ham and mustard mix in the center, then fold the top of the pyramid down over the ball. You then fold the two remaining points in over the ball. Done! When you turn it over you have a meat pie shaped like the carapace of a little crab. There are even two eyes and two little legs sticking out in front. Cute!
Of course with a crust that’s 18% butter, 37% cream cheese and 45% flour, not to mention the fact that they’re stuffed with ham, they’re a little on the rich side. But then they’re going on an appetizer table where people are used to scarfing down a half stick of butter before dinner. So I guess that’s alright. I’m not sure a lighter crust would bake up well anyway. Puff pastry would be a good alternative, though that wouldn’t solve anything from a richness standpoint. Puff pastry is 38% butter. And if you’re thinking “Well, that ‘s less isn’t it, because 18% butter and 37% cream cheese equals 55%” remember that cream cheese is 55% water, so the total fat turns out to be almost the same.
But aha! you say, isn’t butter about 13% water too? Alright yes, Miss Smartypants, it is. But I’m not going to figure out how that affects the proportions. We’re still talking about at least 1/3 total fat by weight in either case. And anyway, my calculator’s broken.