Azevias de Natal
Azevias de Natal is a delicious dessert, typically enjoyed at Christmas time in Portugal. These little sweet pockets of flaky pastry are filled with a delicious chickpea mixture and a festive hint of cinnamon that makes them irrezistable for children and adults alike!
Just follow the recipe below and enjoy the tasty results!
Azevias de Natal
For the dough:
- 500 g unleavened flour or all purpose flour
- 3 – 4 tbsp fat mixture of lard and butter or margarine
- 100 ml brandy
- 1 pinch salt
- 250 ml warm water for kneading
- oil for frying
For the grain filling:
- 1 kg chickpeas dry or canned
- 750 g sugar
- 400 ml water
- 1 lemon just the peel
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 3 yolks
- To start, if you're using cooked canned chickpeas, simply mash them in a food processor and drain them.
- If using uncooked chickpeas instead, soak them overnight and peel away the skins the next day. Cook them with a pinch of salt until very tender. Then, drain them, let them cool and mash them using a food processor.
- Place the mashed chickpeas in a fine sieve and allow to drain any excess liquid while we process the rest of the ingredients.
- First, we'll prepare the syrup. In a pot place the sugar and add about 400 ml/ 1 ⅔ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until the sugar has melted and it forms a syrup.
- Once the clear syrup has thickened, add in 1 tsp of cinnamon, the lemon peel and the mashed chickpeas and stir everything together well, cooking gently for another 10-20 minutes.
- Once the mixture has thickened nicely (you'll know it's ready when you can draw a line on the bottom of the pan with the back of your spoon and the line holds its shape for a few moments), remove from the heat and allow to cool for a little while, before adding in the egg yolks.
- Stir vigorously to thoroughly incorporate the yolks, then add the pan back on the heat to cook everything together for 2 minutes or so.
- Remove from the heat, leave to cool down to room temperature and then place in a bowl, cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour (preferably overnight) to set.
- The next day, we can prepare the dough. To do this, sift the flour in a large bowl and form a well in the middle. Melt the butter and lard (or margarine) in a pan then pour it in the center of the well.
- Pour in the brandy and a dash of salt and start kneading, adding warm water as necessary until you get a smooth dough.
- Set it aside to rest for about 10-15 minutes.
- Roll the dough out thinly into ovals and place a spoonful or two of the filling on the bottom half. Fold the other half over the filling and seal the edges together with your fingers or using a fork.
- Then in a wide frying pan, heat up a good amount of oil (you want there to be enough to half-submerge the azevias) and once it's very hot, place some of the pastries in the oil to fry them. You'll have to work in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.
- Once the azevias turn crispy around the edges, turn them over and fry until nicely golden all over. Transfer to a dish lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
- Sprinkle the delicious azevias generously with sugar and cinnamon and allow to cool before serving.