Sweet Ravioli with Plum Jam
This dessert is actually a take on a childhood favourite of mine – Sweet Dumplings with Plum Jam Filling sprinkled with pan-fried sugary breadcrumbs – that my Grandma used to make for me when I was growing up. It wasn’t the kind of dessert that would be on heavy rotation, like say apple or sour cherry pie, but nonetheless I remember it fondly as a palate and also, crowd pleaser.
I’ve tweaked the recipe quite a bit, because I wanted the smoothness of pasta dough and I did change the traditional topping of sugary breadcrumbs with a roasted crushed almonds and sugar version, partly because I had no breadcrumbs on hand, but mainly because almonds sprinkled over stuff has a reputation of being awesome on most occasions. The plum jam is what stayed the same, I used the traditional Romanian sugar-free “magiun”, probably one of my favourite jams, which basically translates to plums that are cooked over very low heat for quite a few hours, until a rich, stick-to-the-spoon pasty jam is obtained; and traditionally, no additional sugar is involved in the process. If you can’t find this to buy, either make it using this really nice recipe or replace it with any other thick fruit jam you like.
These sweet jammy ravioli turned out so good that they were gone pretty fast once the platter hit the table and I don’t even want to talk about how many I personally taste tested while arranging them on said platter.
Sweet Ravioli with Plum Jam
(Makes a lot! So, for a smaller amount, feel free to use only half of the ingredients listed below.)
For the dough:
600g/11⁄2 cups flour plus extra, for work surface
A pinch of salt
125ml/1⁄2 cup cup water
For the almond & sugar topping:
250g raw almonds
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
For the filling:
300g/11 oz. plum jam or any other paste like jam, preferably sugar or refined-sugar free
To make the dough using a food processor, add the flour, salt and the eggs to the bowl and pulse until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Then, with processor running, add the water slowly. When the dough starts to come together into a ball, remove it from the bowl and transfer to a clean surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you obtain a nice smooth ball. Leave dough on the work surface covered with a clean bowl for half an hour.
In the mean time, make the almond & sugar mixture. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place almonds in a roasting dish and once oven is heated, place on the middle rack and allow to roast for about 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan twice during roasting to prevent from burning. Remove from oven, transfer onto a cutting board and allow to cool. Once cooled, use food processor or blender to blitz them until a coarse almond meal is formed. Mix this with sugar in a medium bowl.
If you have a pasta machine, cut the ball of dough in four (two, if making half the recipe), cover the dough you are not immediately using with cling film to prevent it from drying out and place it in the fridge. Dust a clean surface and the dough with a little flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine several times, starting with the machine on setting 2 and finishing with it on setting 5. Be careful to guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it enters, as well as exits from the rollers, so that you obtain a nice and as-rectangular-as-possible sheet of pasta. The dough should be paper-thin, about 3mm/1⁄8 in. thick.
If you don’t have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin. Cut your dough ball in eight (four, if making half the recipe), cover the remaining dough you are not immediately using with cling film to prevent it from drying out and place it in the fridge. Dust a clean surface and the dough with a little flour. Form the dough into a rectangle, then proceed to roll the dough until you obtain a rectangle with a width of 15cm/6 in. and a thickness of about 3mm/1⁄8 in.
Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out one long sheet of pasta at a time. Drop 1⁄2 tsp jam at about 6cm/21⁄2 in. apart on the bottom half sheet of pasta. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. Using your fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal. Use a ravioli stamp/crimper/rotary cutter to cut each pillow into rounds (or squares, if you prefer). Make sure that the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking. Place on a large plate dusted with flour or cornmeal, to prevent them from sticking.
Before rolling the last piece of dough, place a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once the raviolis are formed and the water is boiling, cook the ravioli in batches 10 to 15 minutes. The ravioli will float to the top when cooked, so don’t over crowd. I did 4 batches for the full recipe. Once they’re done lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon. Reserve1⁄2 cup of ravioli water before discarding the water. Place ravioli along with the reserved water in a large dish and place 3⁄4 of the almond & sugar mixture on top and gently mix everything well, until raviolis are well covered. Carefully transfer the sweet ravioli on a serving dish, sprinkle with remaining almond & sugar mixture and serve at once!