Legendary Dishes | Barbajuan / Monegasque Barbagiuan (cheese and vegetable pastries)

FRANCE MONACO

The ravioli-like vegetable pastries called barbagiuan belong to Monaco but they are rooted in the culinary traditions of the French Riviera, each area with its own version.

Chard is the vegetable of choice in the principality, spinach in others. Italian cheeses – a blend of ricotta and parmigiano or pecorino – are constants. Leeks and onions complement the greens. Oregano is the obligatory herb. Eggs provide the binding.

Other fillings include cooked rice and squash.

Along the Côte d‘Azur their cheese and vegetable pastry tradition calls for a dough made with egg yolks and olive oil. In Monaco they add yeast and the whole egg. Flour of choice is generally wheat, though spelt, now that it is becoming popular again, is also used.


Barbajuan

This is the Toulon version.

Dough

  • 200 g white wheat flour / white spelt flour
  • 50 ml spinach water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 75 g spinach, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g grano padano cheese / parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 50 g short grain rice, cooked in spinach water until soft
  • 15 ml olive oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Rapeseed oil, for deep frying

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add egg yolks, oil and spinach water, form into a smooth dough. Leave to rest in fridge until the filling is ready.

Soak spinach in boiling water for two minutes, drain, chop.

Sauté onion in olive oil over a low heat for ten minutes until the edges turn brown-red, add spinach and heat through. Remove to a bowl.

When the mixture has cooled a little and is still warm, fold in the cheese. When the mixture is cold add egg whites, parsley and rice, season.

Roll dough thin, about 2 millimetres. Make rounds with 12 centimetre diameters. Put 35 grams of filling on each round, fold into semi-circles. Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Deep fry barbajuans in hot oil for two minutes each side, until the crust turns brown.


Barbagiuan Monegasque

Dough

  • 200 g flour
  • 1 small egg (approximately 55 g)
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 25 ml chard water, lukewarm
  • 10 g yeast
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 75 g onions
  • 50 g chard, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 50 g percorino cheese / ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 10 g oregano
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Dissolve yeast in water.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add oil, egg and yeast mixture, knead into a firm, smooth dough, adding more water if necessary. Leave to rise for an hour.

Sauté onions in oil for ten minutes. Allow them to brown. Add chard, wilt. Take off the heat, leave to cool, stir in the cheeses and egg yolks for a creamy mixture. Add pecorino to thicken, if necessary.

Roll dough thin, about 2 mm thick. Make 20 short rounds using a cutter or rim of a small cup or glass.

Put one heaped tablespoon of filling on each round, brush edge with egg white, fold into semi-circles.

Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Heat vegetable oil in a saucpan, deep fry barbagiuans for five minutes.