My kitchen smells like Venezuela now! It smells of childhood memories and happiness. All because I am making cachitos for the second time in 2 days! Cachitos de Jamón, which are these delicious semi sweet breads filled with a mixture of chopped ham that are a must have in every Venezuelan bakery. I used to have them for breakfast quite often and they were also delicious in the afternoon.
Yesterday I was reading facebook and a friend of mine published a recipe for Cachitos. The recipe is from a lady called Ceci E. I immediately jumped on it as Cachitos are one of these things that you think only bakeries can do - but that is wrong! These cachitos are soooo good and so easy!
As usual I did change the recipe a little - particularly as the original recipe is for 32 cachitos! I know I love them but we could never eat 32 cachitos in one go!
So here you have it a little piece of Venezuelan heaven!
2/3 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 cups of flour
400 gr ham (I used this ham from my deli that has bacon on it and mixed it with normal ham)
1 can of deviled ham (optional)
PAM cooking spray
Mix the yeast with 1tbsp of sugar and 1/4 of a cup of warm water. Let it rest until it bubbles - about 5 to 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the wet ingredients together. In a bowl whisk the milk, the rest of the sugar (save 1 tbsp of sugar for later), 1 egg, the salt and the butter. Make sure the butter is not too hot and that you mix it a little at a time or you will get scramble eggs!
Once the yeast is ready, add to the liquid mix. Add the flour a cup at a time, whisk the first cup and knead the second cup by hand for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and it does not stick to your fingers. Make a ball with the dough, put in the bowl, cover it with cling film and a kitchen towel and leave on a warm place (I put it in my oven) for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
While waiting, prepare the ham mixture. Cut all your ham into pieces as small or big as you would like. I like mine pretty small as it reminds me of the traditional ones. Put the ham pieces in a bowl and mix with deviled ham to your liking (I used about half of a big can) - this step is optional. Again I used it as it truly gives the cachitos that taste of "panaderia" or bakery made taste!
Once the dough has doubled in size - break it into 2 balls. On a flat surface covered with a little flour, roll one ball with a rolling pin into a thin circle. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 slices like if it was a pizza - you will end up with 6 triangles (if you want small cachitos cut into 8 and for large ones cut into 4 triangles). Do the same with the second ball of dough.
Take one triangle at a time and roll it over so it gets even thinner. Put a a little more than a spoonful of ham mixture at the wider end of the triangle. Gently fold the two corners inwards to stop the ham from falling of the cachito when baked, then gently roll the cachito.
Put then in an oven tray sprayed with PAM, brush them with a mixture of one egg and 1 tbsp of sugar. Cover the tray with cling film and leave them rest for about an hour. Leave space between the cachitos as they will almost double in size.
Pre heat your oven at 350F - Brush the cachitos again with the egg and sugar mixture and bake the cachitos for about 15 to 18 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
Remove the cachitos from the oven and let them cool a little on a rack (if you can resist not to eat them!!). Eat them warm. You can reheat the cachitos on your oven during the day.
I prepared a tray of cachitos and left them on the fridge at night. I them baked them first thing in the morning for breakfast - my son loved them so much I had to make a second batch!