Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Inspired by a post on Serious Eats today, I tried my hand at empanadas tonight. The recipe for the crust was quick and easy, and turned out to be the most impressive flaky pastry I've tried. 

The filling on SE was a bit less my style, however, as I don't eat raisins OR olives, so I put together a beef-corn-beans-cheese concoction that was equally yummy.

The dough, after scraping it out of the food processor. It's cream cheese based, and smells great. Knead it gently, wrap it up and chill for 30+ mins. I made the filling (ground beef, chopped onions, cilantro, homemade taco seasoning -- salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin -- corn, black beans, 2 c of cheese, 2 oz cream cheese) in a large skillet. We have a TON leftover.

When the dough comes out, fold it into a log, and slice into 10 even parts. Roll out about 4-5 inches in diameter. Fill with about 1/4 c taco mix, wet the edges, and fold over to seal. Press the edges down with a fork.

Some recipes call for baking, others call for frying the empanadas. I filled the baking sheet with ones for baking, then fried the last four. I also found the first two I made were too big, and the dough too thin. The warmth of the filling started to melt the dough (see the top two below). Brush with egg wash, prick with a fork to allow steam to escape. 20 mins @350F

While the first batch are in the oven, I heated a frying pan with oil and fried up the last four.

The result was a delicious meal with tons of leftovers! The fried ones, as expected, were hot, flaky and perfect. The baked ones became a little misshapen, but overall were not too bad. The crust does well both ways.




From Serious Eats:

Cream Cheese Pastry


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1. Process the butter, cream cheese, and cream in a food processor, electric mixer or by hand to thoroughly combine.
2. Add the flour and salt. Process until just combined and the dough holds together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into 2 pieces. Flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out 15 minutes before rolling out.

Taco filling
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans
1/3 c chopped cilantro
salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin (about 1-2 TBS total)
1 c monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz cream cheese

1. Brown beef in a skillet, add onion and cilantro and spices.
2. Drain and rinse corn, black beans. Mix in with the beef. 
3. Sprinkle with cheese and mix until thickened. 
4. Remove from heat, allow to cool before spooning into pastry rounds.
5. Bake empanadas for 20 minutes at 350 F or fry in shallow pan with oil

Homemade salsa
In a food processor, combine 1/2 bunch cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, 2-3 inch chunk of onion. Pulse until a paste forms. Pour in 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes (with juices), 1/2 TBS salt, 1/2 TBS sugar, 1 TBS white vinegar, 2-3 TBS chili oil (or use a a jalapeno). Process until smooth. Squeeze a lime into the salsa.

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