EMPANADILLAS: PERFECT PARTY FOOD

Monday, October 20, 2014

I love pastry.  I love making it and I love eating it.  Its soothing, comforting, rich and flaky.  

Sunday's always feel right for pastry.  The slower pace of life and the comfort of eating when you like seems to fit with the pastry mantra.  It needs time to chill and relax, just like I do.
  

These little pie babies are a triumph of easy making and very easy eating.  The pastry used is enriched with an egg giving a rich texture and flavour.  They are a Spanish party pie and would generally be eaten as part of Tapas but they are pretty good at any time and perfect for parties where everyone stands up with a drink in their hand.  Drink in one hand, pie in another- perfect!


I used a piece of beef braising steak and chopped it very finely instead of mincing the meat to give it a great chunky texture, but you could just as easily use good mince beef.  I always mince my own meat at home rather than buying ready minced meat, the flavour and quality is in your own hands then but if you don't have the equipment go to a good butcher to get your mince.



EMPANADILLAS

PASTRY INGREDIENTS

  • 350g AP Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g shortening
  • 50g butter- cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg, whisked lightly

METHOD
  1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.  Place the butter and shortening into the flour and rub together.  (See note below for "Rubbing In" Tips)
  2. Once you have breadcrumb texture add the egg and stir in with a fork.  
  3. Add a little cold water and bring the dough together.  It should be a stiff but smooth dough.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 350g minced or chopped beef
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dried chilli
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 20g raisins
  • salt and pepper

METHOD
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions will translucent but not browned.  Add the meat and start to brown it.  Add the spices, garlic, pepper, raisins and tomato water and heat for 5 minutes.  
  2. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  Also check the heat levels- add more chilli if you want to make them lip smackingly tingly- just perfect for cooling down with a cold beer.
  3. Cool before filling the pies.  

EMPANADILLA CONSTRUCTION
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll out the pastry till it is about 3mm thick.  Cut out about 24 circles- I used my largest cookie cutter.  If you don't have one cut around a small saucer/plate.  Once they are cut run the rolling pin over them a few times, turning the pastry to get them as thin as possible.  
  3. Place a teaspoon of the beef mix in the center and brush a little water around one edge of the circle.  Fold over and push the air out before sealing the edge.  Use a fork to press the edges together- its essential to keep the filling in and it looks pretty!
  4. Brush each one with a little milk and bake until golden- 10- 15 minutes.

I actually baked half and froze half for another day.  Just freeze them on a baking sheet and once solid transfer to a freezer bag.  Don't forget to write on the bag the cooking temp and time.  They could also be made in advance and chilled in the fridge just thrown them in the oven before your party guests arrive.

NOTE

'Rubbing in' is a technique where flour is rubbed into a fat to make dishes such as pastry;
  • Using your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (fine or coarse, depending on the recipe).
  • Lift the mixture up as you rub it in so that the air going through it keeps it cool.
  • Shake the bowl every so often to bring the larger lumps of butter to the surface.
  • You need clean, cool hands to get the best result when rubbing in.  I have been told that a person with cold hands has a warm heart and I firmly believe that is the secret to good pastry!  

As the cold weather starts to creep in I think there will be much more pie on the menu.  You just cant have too much pie.

Can you?

Nah, course not!


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1 comments

  1. These are beautiful! I've only ever had sweet empanadas (apple pie filling style!) but these sound so delicious as well.

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