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Manchego Cheese and Quince Paste with Sesame Flatbread

Membrillo, or sweet quince paste, is available in well-stocked stores. If you are pressed for time, use store-bought flatbread.

Ingredients:

For the sesame flatbread:

  • 2 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water, plus 1 to 3 Tbs. more if needed
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 to 3 Tbs. more if needed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  •  
  • 1/2 lb. Manchego cheese, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 lb. purchased quince paste, cut into thin slices

Directions:

In a bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In another bowl, stir together the flour and rosemary. In a food processor, process the yeast mixture, half of the flour mixture, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and the salt until mixed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour mixture and process until a smooth ball forms, about 1 minute. (If the dough seems too dry, add a little water; if it seems too wet, add more flour.)

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 7 minutes, adding the sesame seeds after 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, put in an oiled bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel, put in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down, cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

Position 2 oven racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450°F.

Divide the dough into 3 equal balls. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each ball into a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Place each round on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and bake until golden in color and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining round. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, broken into pieces. (The flatbread can be baked up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container.) Serve the flatbread alongside the cheese and quince paste. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties, by Georgeanne Brennan (Free Press, 2006).