Eggplants are plentiful at the end of summer and taste wonderful in this braided savory pastry. The best prosciutto and Maasdam or Swiss cheese are layered on homemade shortcrust pastry with the eggplant and baked till golden brown. This savoury braid makes a perfect and satisfying lunch served with a mixed green salad.
A vegetarian version is also included below with the recipe for making the oven roasted red capsicum that is used in place of the prosciutto.
Eggplant, Proscuiutto and Cheese Braid
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 85 g butter
- 8 Tblsp chilled water
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 4 Slices Maasdam or Swiss Cheese
- 100 g Prosciutto slices
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small egg, lightly beaten (optional)
- Ground black pepper and salt
- Nigella seeds (or poppy seeds)
- Sea salt flakes
- Place plain flour into a food processor with the 1/4 tsp salt
- Process for 5 seconds
- Place chopped butter into processor and process for 10 seconds
- Add 8 Tblsp of chilled water through the feed tube while processing until the dough forms a ball.
- Place into a snap lock plastic bag in the refrigerator for 20 mins
- Now make the filling
- Wash the eggplant and cut into 1.25 cm slices lengthwise
- Grill the slices and set aside on kitchen paper
- Chop the cold slices into pieces and put into a mixing bowl
- Stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add the lightly beaten egg and combine thoroughly (depending on how moist your eggplant is this can be omitted)
- Pre heat oven to 200ºC
- To make the transfer of the braid easier, roll out the dough on a large sheet of baking paper
- Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle about 1.25 cm thick
- Cut each side of the pastry into strips like the image below leaving the centre space about the size of a slice of cheese.
- Lay the strips of prosciutto across the centre of the pastry leaving a piece at each end of the pasty to fold over .
- Cover the prosciutto with the eggplant mix
- Lay the slices of Massdam or Swiss Cheese over the eggplant
- Use any extra slices of prosciutto over the top of the cheese layer
- Turn the end over the top of the filling and braid the strips over the filling down the pastry rectangle, brushing a little water over the ends to help the strips to hold
- Turn up the end piece of pastry before sealing over the last strips, making an enclosed log
- Transfer the prepared braid using the baking paper to lift it onto the baking tray
- Brush over the braid with milk and then scatter nigella seeds or poppy seeds and sea salt flakes over the log
- Bake at 200ºC for 10-15mins till lightly brown then lower to 180ºC for a further 30 minutes till golden brown
- Remove to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes
- Cut into slices and serve with a green garden salad.
In place of the prosciutto use oven roasted red capsicum. Start with a layer of cheese, then the eggplant and cover the to with strips of roasted capsicum, from the recipe below. Continue as above.
Making oven roasted capsicum:
- 3 large red capsicum
- olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 200º C
- Wash the capsicums and lay them on an oven tray lined with baking paper
- Bake for 5 minutes then turn and cook for a further 5 minutes
- Continue turning the capsicum till the skin is dark and blistered
- Remove from the oven and wrap tightly in foil putting it into a bowl and covering this tightly with cling wrap.
- Allow to rest of 50 minutes and then remove the capsicums from the foil and peel off the skin and remove the seeds
- You can use the stris to cover the braid or place the extra roasted strips in a container and drizzle olive oil and seasoning over them
Growing your own ingredients: