Here in the South, the tamale is the beloved street food. Not necessarily the traditional Mexican tamale...that versatile packaging method somehow got transported back to the Arkansas Delta, where it became convenient lunch fare for sharecroppers to take to the fields, thus you have the inimical tamales from Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, MS., beloved of the former President and my good friend, Bill Clinton, which bear about as much resemblance to Mexican tamales as chateaubriand does to burgers. However, it's a jumping-off point for lots of tamale riffs; at our local farmers' market, there's a "gourmet tamale" vendor, whose offerings last fall included pumpkin and ricotta tamales. I had to try one. Surprisingly, they were pretty good. Now. I don't make tamales; they're too damn much work, and I'd rather buy 'em. But you can take an egg roll wrapper, and the innards, and make up about the same thing, frying it in an inch or so of vegetable oil. I highly recommend it. —Kayb
Combine pumpkin puree, cider, butter and spices in a medium, heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat for an hour, until thickened. Set aside to cool.
Beat egg with a little tap water and set to one side.
Place egg roll wrapper on a plate or cutting board, with a point toward you (so it looks like a diamond). Put a tablespoon of ricotta in the center, spread it out with the spoon. Top with a tablespoon or two of pumpkin mixture.
With your fingers, fold the bottom point up. Coat the edges of that point with beaten egg. Fold the two side points in; coat the top edges of those flaps with beaten egg. Fold the top point down. Press lightly to seal (but not hard enough to squish out the filling!).
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium high until it shimmers. Fry turnovers, starting with fold side up, until golden; flip and fry other side until golden. Drain on racks over paper towels.
If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. Best fresh and hot, but respectable heated back up in the toaster oven!
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!