Whenever I consider making pastry dough… I cringe, as that is one thing that I just don’t get. But, I have conquering this culinary skill on my bucket list and will eventually “get it” — one day. A few years ago I signed up for a one-day pastry making class, though for pie pastry the chef who was teaching said that “most chefs just buy the pre-made Tenderflake pie/ tart shells”. I always thought that that was a cop-out, personally. So I’m still pursuing my goal of making the perfect pie dough pastry – your suggestions, tips and recipes are welcome!
However in that one-day session… I did learn how to make this awesome, and super-easy empanada dough.
The class I took was more than four years ago, but I’ve only made empanadas once since then — for my sister’s 50th birthday, but that was about four years ago – sorry, Debra. But Monday afternoon I decided that my nacho and margarita party with some galpals just NEEDED to have homemade empanadas!
At the grocery store, I picked up ground pork before checking for some online recipe information for the filling suggestions. Oops! I found that the most traditional fillings are beef or cheese — no pork. So improvise I did!
The dough for empanadas couldn’t been any simpler. Trust me, if you can make pancakes you can make this dough.
(makes 3 dozen small empanadas)
1 tub Spreadable Cream Cheese
1 cup Flour
Dash of Sea Salt
1. Place all ingredients in your food processor (or mixer), and beat until combined.
2. Turn out your dough onto a floured counter, and knead a few times, shaping the dough into a ball.
3. Cut your dough into quarters, and roll each quarter out one at a time to a thickness of about 1/8″.
NOTE: I didn’t refrigerate my dough before rolling it out, but you could if you wanted. I think it may make the dough a bit too stiff to roll out nicely though. If it does, just allow the dough to warm up a bit, and try rolling it again. I froze a bit of the leftover dough and filling (separately) to use for a yummy, impromptu lunch in the future.
Now let me try to remember what I used in my hodge-podge pork filling four days ago, as it was pretty yummy…
Feel free to experiment with flavours of your own and to do a bit of “fridge-clearing” when you make these. One Facebook friend made a vegetarian version, and I’m still awaiting the filling recipe she used. Every culture has a perogy, empanada, dumpling, gyoza, ravioli, etc. so feel free to experiment with your favourite meats, veggies, seasonings, herbs, and sauces. But here’s mine…
1 White Onion, minced
1 pound Ground Pork
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Epicure Selections Herb & Garlic Dip Mix
1 tbsp. Epicure Selections Guacamole Dip Mix
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/2 cup Tomato Juice
1 cup Green Olives, with pimentos
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
3 tbsp. Cilantro, fresh
1. Saute half of the onions with the ground pork for two minutes.
2. Add all of the dry spices, and cook meat until well cooked.
3. Run your olives through your food processor or chop them finely. Add to the fry pan with the tomato juice and leftover onions.
4. Cook for two minutes just to warm the olives slightly and allow the juice to soak up.
5. Remove your fry pan from the burner and add the green onions and cilantro and stir in.
6. Place filling in your food processor and pulse until it becomes a fine mixture.
7. Allow mixture to cool in the fridge while you make and ready the dough.
Now I received this nifty gift (vintage, but new) from a very good, foodie friend (another Deborah – thanks babe!). But you can buy a similar pan online called the Hunky Bills Little Perogie Maker for about $16. I have the Hunky Bill larger-sized perogy maker, but that seemed a bit too large for appetizer-sized empanadas, I thought. The advantage of the perogy maker is that I could make 72 empanadas (6 dozen) in less than an hour from start to finish on this recipe.
Though I did double the dough ingredients – FYI because I couldn’t remember how many one tub of cream cheese would make.
However, all is not lost if you want to make individual empanadas one at a time. Though I would suggest that you make the meal-sized versions (think Pizza Pop sizes) to save time in the kitchen.
Alternate Creation: Simply choose a glass, cup, open can, or something round about the size that you wish, and cut out individual circles. Place your filling in the middle and fold over the dough in half, and crimp the edges with a fork. IT is a bit of extra work, I know, because that is how I made all my empanadas for the birthday party last time.
I laid two dozen empanadas out on a cookie sheet covered with a Silpat mat and baked them at 350*F on the highest rack for 10-12 minutes until they were just slightly golden brown. I served mine with a Thai Salad Dressing “dip” that I picked up at Safeway, and they tasted great. Though a friend served hers with salsa, and they were eaten right up. Empanadas pretty much go with anything. I guess salsa would have been the better choice for a nachos and margaritas party, but oh well, I love my Thai dressing!
If you didn’t need the empanadas right away, you could also freeze them on the cookie sheet. Once frozen you could store them together in a Ziploc bag and defrost slightly on a cookie sheet before baking. I did that as well for an impromptu get together a few nights later. They were once again a bit hit. I defrosted the empanadas in advance for an hour before the guests arrived so that the filling had a chance to warm up too. Otherwise you might get chilly empanada innards.
Are you going to make, or have you made, empanadas? If you do…
please let me know if you experiment with the filling in the comments section below.