Monica Leon’s “Buñuelos con jamón” win the Mahón-Menorca Cheese PDO recipe contest, among 50 industry professionals.
How do you take a delicious cheese like Mahón-Menorca PDO and make it even better? Put it in the hands of great chefs and let them go wild.
The grand-prize winner (and recipient of a four-day trip to Menorca, Spain) is the ever-clever Chef Monica León of Caja Caliente (Coral Gables, Florida), who took this Spanish cheese to new lengths in her Buñuelos con Jamón with Mahón-Menorca PDO Cheese and Fig Jam recipe. A big congratulations to the runners up, who's outstanding recipes will not be leaving them empty handed:
Chef Paolo Dungca's Ensaimada, Mahón-Menorca PDO Pastry Cream, and Black Truffle Butter and Chef Brian Baxter's Mahón-Menorca PDO Custard, Nance Jam, and Osetra Caviar.
Vegetable oil for frying
1⁄2 cup + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1⁄2 cup harina blanca de maiz (I used PAN)
1 1⁄2 cup of shredded Mahón-Menorca PDO Cheese
12 small cubes of Mahón-Menorca PDO Cheese to stuff in the center
1⁄2 cup of chopped jamon serrano or prosciutto
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons of milk
1 pound of figs, cut into quarters.
1⁄2 cup of sugar
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
1⁄4 cup of water
For the Buñuelos:
Place all your buñuelo ingredients except the vegetable oil & milk in a large bowl and mix together until well combined. Slowly add your milk and mix until your dough comes together, add more milk if needed. Knead for a few minutes until your dough is nice and smooth then separate into about 13-15 small balls using about 2 tablespoons of dough.
Place a drop of olive oil on your hands and roll each ball then make an indentation in the center to place a 1⁄2 inch piece of cheese in there and roll again until the cheese is in the center to ensure a melted cheese center.... a cheese pull!
For the Fig Jam:
In a saucepan over medium heat, add your figs, sugar and lemon zest. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Now add your lemon juice & water and bring this to a boil then lower the heat to low. Continuously stir for about 20 minutes until the fruit is soft and has a jam-like consistency. Add your jam to a jar and set aside.
To Assemble and Serve:
In a large dutch oven bring your oil to about 350°F and fry the buñuelos until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Once taken out of the oil, place on a paper towel lined plate to get rid of excess grease. Dip into the Fig Jam, honey, or your favorite jam for the perfect sweet and savory bite!