Introduction: Pumpkin Prosciutto and Ricotta Flatbread Squares
I love hosting Thanksgiving. But every year, even though I plan ahead and try to be on time, I end up running at least an hour late. Luckily, these delicious little pumpkin prosciutto flatbread squares temporarily satisfy all of my impatient guests. I came up with this recipe ages ago and have been making it for years as a Thanksgiving appetizer and just as a fun party snack.
It's a perfect snack for fall when pumpkins start to show up at the supermarkets, but you can also make this with regular butternut squash. Or serve it at the pool by using summer squash! Another wonderful squash variety that would be great in these is Kabocha squash, which you can usually find year round in well stocked markets.
Whichever squash you use, make sure to roast the fresh seeds and add those too, they add a wonderful crunch.
This will become one of your favorite party snacks, especially when pumpkin is in season, and all your guests will be super impressed at the unique combination of flavors :)
Step 1: Ingredients:
Makes 2 Flatbreads or About 40 Squares (depending on how you cut them)
FOR THE CRUST:
3/4 cup lukewarm water (about 105 degrees)
2cups unbleached all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
FOR THE FLATBREAD:
1 medium sugar pumpkin (or other squash variety)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, broken up into strips
6 to 8 sage leaves
1 large red onion
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1.5 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Step 2: Roast the Pumpkin or Squash
Preheat oven to 325.
Cut the stem off the sugar pumpkin, then slice pumpkin into quarters. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl (set flesh and seeds aside) and brush the pumpkin pieces with olive oil. Sprinkle each piece with salt (about 1/2 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper (about 1/4 tsp). Prick the pieces with a fork a few times and roast in the oven until pumpkin is very tender, approximately 2 hours. This can take quite a while, I find that loosely covering the pumpkin with some foil can expedite the cooking.
Step 3: Roast the Pumpkin Seeds
Separate the pumpkin seeds from the scooped out flesh as best as you can. It doesn't have to all come off. I find it easiest to place everything into a colander, run it under water, while manually removing the fleshy parts and plucking as many seeds as possible out. It is a tedious task, but the fresh roasted seeds are a must on the flatbread!
Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel, removing as much water as possible, then mix in 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs melted butter, 1/4 tsp salt, some fresh pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Spread the seeds in one layer on a baking sheet and roast on a lower layer in the oven along with the pumpkin, until seeds are golden. This takes about 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove seeds and set aside (and go ahead... munch on this incredibly delicious and healthy snack!).
Step 4: Make the Dough:
While pumpkin cooks, make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the 1.5 tsp salt. In a separate bowl, combine the 105 degree water with the yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Whisk the liquids and then add the dry ingredients. Switch to a spoon and mix everything together until a dough starts to form.
Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for 6 or 7 minutes with your hands until dough becomes elastic. Coat with some olive oil, place in a bowl and let the dough rise for 1 and a half or 2 hours, while the pumpkin cooks.
Step 5: Prepare Other Ingredients
COOK THE ONION:
Place a skillet over a medium flame and add 2 tbs olive oil. Thinly slice the red onion and add to the pan, along with the grated garlic, 4 large chopped sage leaves, the 1/2 tsp sugar and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until onion is soft and slightly caramelized. Set aside.
MIX PUMPKIN SEASONINGS:
In a medium bowl, mix 1 tbs olive oil, the 1.5 tbs of honey, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk all ingredients to combine.
When pumpkin is tender enough, remove from oven, let it rest until cool enough to handle and scoop out the flesh into the bowl with oil, honey and spice. Mash very well with a spoon, or use an immersion blender to get a thick puree and mix in the seasonings. It should still be somewhat chunky. Taste the puree and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Step 6: Roll Out Dough
Raise the oven heat to 500 degrees and place a baking sheet into the oven to warm it.
Cut the dough in half, place one piece back into bowl and cover.
Place the other piece on a large sheet of parchment paper big enough to hold the flatbread. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a thin layer. It can be round, square, or any shape you like. You'll end up cutting it into little squares anyway.
You can even pick it up and use your hands to gently stretch it. Try to get it about 14 inches wide and long.
Step 7: Spread the Pumpkin Over the Dough:
Now let's layer all the ingredients in this order:
1) Spread half of the pumpkin first, leaving at least a half an inch border.
Step 8: Spread Onion and Gruyere
2) Spread half of the onion mixture, followed by half of the grated Gruyere cheese.
Step 9: Add Prosciutto and Ricotta
3) Top with half of the prosciutto strips and drop half of the ricotta in dollops.
Step 10: Add Seasonings and Fresh Sage
4) Sprinkle the flatbread with some kosher salt, fresh black pepper, drizzle a bit of good quality olive oil over it and sprinkle about a half tsp of fresh chopped sage.
Step 11: Cook the Flatbread
With gloves, carefully remove the hot baking sheet (be careful...it's hot!), turn it upside down and lift the parchment paper with the flatbread unto it. Place back into the oven and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet (carefully!) and with the help of a spatula, slide the flatbread off of the paper. Return to oven, rotating it, and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.
About 10 minutes total is what you need to cook the flatbread through. It's just VERY important to preheat the baking sheet or pizza stone if you have one. This way the crust gets crispy.
Step 12: Cut the Flatbread
Slice the Flatbread in half, then into strips and then cut the strips in half. Or you can make even smaller bites.
Don't forget to sprinkle those delicious roasted pumpkin seeds over the squares!
Repeat everything with the other piece of dough, or...chill dough ( will keep for 3 days) and all ingredients separately and put the other flatbread together the next day for a post Thanksgiving brunch.