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Jam-Ricotta Crescents

(Original Recipe)
Makes 22 pastries

1 cup butter
500ml milk with 1 tablespoon lemon vinegar or 1-2 cups ricotta
2 tablespoons cream with 1 teaspoon lemon vinegar or
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Jam (I used strawberry jam and marmalade)
2 tablespoons milk

Cream the softened butter, either with an electric mixer or by hand. If you are creaming by hand, it is best to hold the bowl against your torso rather than leaning over a table. This should take about ten minutes.

In the meantime, pour the milk into a pan and add one tablespoon of vinegar. Leave to curdle for one minute before turning the heat on (low). Stir every so often. After ten minutes the curds and whey will have separated - pour the pan's contents through a colander lined with cloth. Leave to drip for five minutes. Alternately, skip this entire paragraph and use bought ricotta.

In a separate cup, mix two tablespoons of cream with one teaspoon of vinegar to make sour cream. Allow to stand for a minute to curdle. Alternatively, use two tablespoons of sour cream.

Mix the creamed butter with the ricotta, sour cream and vanilla and stir everything through. Add the flour and salt. At this point I found that I needed to use my hands to shape the dough as it was just separating into small shaggy bits - I buttered my hands lightly and kneaded the dough in its bowl until it came together, which didn't take long. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least three hours.

Once the dough has been chilled, remove the plastic and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

I rolled the dough until it was about half a centimetre thick. Use a knife or a square cookie cutter to cut squares from the pastry - the closer to perfect the squares are, of course, the better, but getting the ruler out was a step too far for me. Fill each square with a scant half-teaspoon of jam, fold in half into a triangle, and press firmly on the edges to seal the pastry. Roll the right-angled corner over the hypotenuse of the triangle, and twist the ends into a crescent shape. Place on a greased baking tray.

Re-roll the dough scraps and continue cutting squares of pastry until all the dough has been used. Pour the two tablespoons of milk into a bowl and using either a pastry brush or clean fingers, daub each crescent with milk. (An egg wash could also be used here.)

Put the crescents in the oven at 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit) for ten to fifteen minutes. Oddly, my jam crescents were done after ten, whereas some of the marmalade ones were barely browned after fifteen.