Empanadas it is !
Empanadas are something that’s very common in my house. Most often I have made the fried ones with a simple and delicious potato filling. I have baked a few times too, but the fried ones have always been our favorite. This time when I saw the empanadas challenge in the DBC forum, I was happy to participate. I must say I loved the dough….the crust was perfect..it was great.
Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wish.
I made a simple potato filling for the savory ones and a coconut and nut filling for the sweet one. Here is how I made them:
EMPANADAS WITH SWEET AND SAVORY FILLING
3½ cups all-purpose or bread flour( I used the latter)
1 cup warm water
½ cup less 1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add all the ingredients.Mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients have been incorporated.Turn dough onto your counter and knead for 8 minutes.Make a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for about half an hour before using.Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.
SAVORY POTATO FILLING
2 large Potatoes grated
1 medium onion,sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
a teaspoon chili flakes
salt as per taste
In a saucepan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent. Add grated potato and mix. Close the lid for about 2-3 minutes. Once the potatoes are half done, add salt and chili flakes. Mix and set aside.
SWEET COCONUT AND NUTS FILLING
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup jaggery
1/2 cup chopped nuts(I used cashewnuts,almonds and pistachios)
2 tablespoon clarified butter
a pinch of salt
Heat butter in a pan, add in the nuts and saute until golden brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, mix coconut and jaggery. On low heat allow it to cook, stirring in between. First the Jaggery will melt and then it will all come together to a thick mass. Add in the nuts,mix. Allow it to cool completely before using it.
Assembling the Empanadas
For the Savory – If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray.Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough.Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Using a hot filling will make the bottom layer of the empanada become soggy. Be careful to avoid adding too much oil from the filling, try to make it as “dry” as possible. Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F.Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling.If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada.
In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.
Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.
For the sweet empanada – Roll the dough into small disc(about 3″ in diameter). Place a tablespoon of the filling one one side and fold from the other end. Press the sides gently. Brush with the egg wash and bake. I baked both the savory and the sweet together, the latter took a little less time to bake.
I wasn’t happy with the sweet empanadas, the filling was fine but the crust was somewhat too very crunchy and tasted a little different…a little eggy too. The savory one was good but I guess it was the filling which needed some more make up.
My usual potato filling that I use to make fried empanadas wasn’t a great filling to use for the baked ones. The next time I should use a different filling. Also, the next time I plan to use individual ramekins for making empanadas.
Thanks Patri for a great challenge!