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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Empanadas - Hand Pies

The Empanada, or hand pie, has been a staple in Latin cuisine forever. They are very simple to make and the dough can be made with either corn masa or flour. This recipe is for a simple dough using all purpose flour. Sorry I don't have any pictures to share of the process or finished product. We ate them all. I'll remember to take pictures next time I make more empanadas.

3 cups of all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks of very cold butter
1 large egg
¼ to ½ cup of cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Cube up the butter and add them to the flour. Pulse until the dough looks like well mixed sand. Add the egg and pulse until well mixed. Start adding a little water and pulse. Keep adding water until the dough form into a manageable ball.

Divide the dough into half, wrap one in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until needed (can be store up to 3 days.) There are a couple of ways to form the empanada disks. The easiest is to pinch off 1-1½ inch diameter balls and use a tortilla press to make 4 to 6 inch disks. The second way to form the disks requires you to roll out the dough and cut it with a round pastry cutter, glass, or small bowl. The disks should not be too thick, or you'll wind up with a doughy empanada. Place a layer of waxed paper between each disk.

Preheat oven to 375° to 400° F.

Empanada Filling:
This can be anything you like, from savory to sweet. Diced leftovers make wonderful empanadas. Apple or berry pie filling is delicious. Just use your imagination. The filling can't be too wet, or it will run out the edges of the empanada during baking. Place a small amount of filling on one half of the empanada disk, leaving at least ¼ inch of clean margin for crimping. Fold the empanada in half and press the edges together. If you have a crimping too, great. If not, fingers and a fork work just fine.

Make an egg wash with one egg yolk and a tablespoon of water. Brush the tops of the empanadas just before baking. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.

Tips: The empanada disks may be frozen and thawed when needed. Herbs and spices can be added to the empanada dough. The empanadas can be frozen after filling to be bake at another time. Adjust your baking time accordingly. These make great appetizers, or snacks, and several will make a great meal. Serve with a dipping sauce like salsa for the savory empanada, or whipped cream for a sweet empanada.

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