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. She learned to make empanadas from her grandma, Carmen, who lived in a country house built by her great-grandfather in the northwest of Spain, in the region called Galicia, a hundred years ago.

Empanada is usually an appetizer or first course, but it is filling; you could make it for lunch or light dinner served with a side salad. All Daring Bakers were given two dough recipes to choose from and were encouraged to fill their empanadas as creatively as they wished. With their bread-like dough surrounding a vegetable frittata with anything you can imagine – from sardines to beef or a sweet filling of sugar, butter and fruit – warm or cold, empanadas are “simple, pretty, and delicious!”

EMPANADA GALLEGA

Ingredients:

For the Dough

5-1/3 cups (1280 ml) (750 gm) bread flour

2 cups (480 ml) of lukewarm water (about 85°F/30ºC), approximately

1 sachet (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast

2 teaspoons (10 ml) (11 gm) salt

4 tablespoons (60 ml) oil

For the Tuna Filling

1 can (6.5 – 7 oz / 180 gm – 200 gm) tuna fish in oil, drained

400 gm (14 oz) chopped onion (1 big onion or 2 medium-sized ones)

200 gm (7 oz) tomatoes (peeled and seeded)

1 small red pepper

2 garlic cloves

¾ cup (180 ml) olive oil

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (optional)

1 large egg, for egg wash

Method:

  • Measure out all the ingredients. Sift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers.
  • In a small bowl, mix water and salt. Using your fingers or a wooden spoon, start adding water to the flour-yeast mixture.
  • Keep working until you have added enough water and all the flour has been incorporated and you have a messy ball of dough.
  • On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes or for about 6 minutes in a stand mixer.
  • Clean and oil the big bowl you used for mixing and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover it with a napkin or piece of linen.

  • Keep it in a warm, draught-free place for approx 40 to 50 minutes. Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter.
  • 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.
  • For the tuna fish filling, heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the finely chopped onions, pepper and garlic until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add then the tomatoes, chopped small, and cook until done. Turn off heat and add the tuna fish.
  • If adding the paprika, do so now and stir into the frittata. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • To assemble the empanada, 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. A hot filling will make the bottom layer become soggy.
  • Try to make the filling as dry as possible. Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F/180ºC/gas mark 4.
  • Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same thickness as the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too.
  • Take into account that the 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.
  • Turn them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. Then 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.

  • Using a fork, prick the top layer or, using scissors, make snips that go all the way through the top layer.
  • In a small bowl, beat an egg with 1 tbs 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.
  • When the top becomes golden brown in colour remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.
  • Makes a 40cmx30cm square empanada or about a 35cm diameter round empanada. Serves 10.

Empanadas are better eaten the day of baking, but will stay fresh for a day more if stored in a cool place (a cold oven or in a cupboard) uncovered or covered with foil. You may use plastic wrap but the dough will become a little gummy. If the filling is fish or sea-food, and the weather is hot, you might stick the completely cooled left overs in the fridge. You can always re-heat it in a hot oven for about 5 minutes.

APPLE FILLED EMPANADILLAS

Ingredients:

For the Dough

3½ cups (500 gm) all-purpose (plain) or bread flour

1 cup (240 ml) warm water

½ cup less 1 tablespoon (100 ml) of liquid fat (oil, margarine, lard)

1 satchel (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or  (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) caster sugar

For the Filling

2 large granny smith apples, peeled and diced

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tbs granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • 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 or for 5 minutes if using a stand mixer.
  • Make a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for about half an hour before using.

  • Roll out dough to about 3mm thickness and cut out into rounds with a 10cm circular cutter.
  • For the filling, mix all ingredients together and place 1 tbs in the centre of each dough circle.

  • Place empanadillas on a baking tray lined with parchment paper a few cms apart.
  • Pinch ends closed and allow to rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 oF.

  • Brush with the empanadillas with egg wash and allow to dry for 10 minutes.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes untils tops are golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

Empanada- Daring Bakers Sept 2012 Challenge

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