Thursday, May 2, 2013


Empanadas are so versatile that you can use the dough to make a dessert or go savory and fill it with chicken, pork, or beef.   This is a huge recipe for a party or the holidays.  You will want to cut it in half if it is just for your family.  I recommend if you are making a mess though and want to save making a mess again later, you can always freeze them and bake them later. These would be great for a Cinco de Mayo party.

16 ounces whipped cream cheese (do not use light)
2 sticks butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 egg (for pastry egg wash)

Meat Filling
1 pound ground pork  (you can substitute any ground meat)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp. chopped garlic
4 mushrooms (your choice)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, until well blended. Slowly add in the flour, mixing until incorporated. Form two balls (it will be easier to work with 2 separate pieces of dough), then flatten each into a disk. Dust with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

While dough is chilling, heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon or so of salt on the bottom of the pan. Break off bits of ground pork and add to the pan, until all the pork is added without crowding. Do not stir. Let the pork brown. Once nicely browned on one side, use a spatula to flip the pieces to the other side so the other side can brown. Once the pork is nicely browned on 2 sides, remove the pork to a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.  Add the finely chopped onion. Let onions gently cook on medium heat for a few minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add the finely chopped mushrooms, cooking for a few minutes more. Add the curry powder, ground coriander, and cardamom to the pan. Mix the spices in with the onion mix. Add the ground pork back to the pan, mixing in the seasoned onion mix.  Add the soy sauce, sugar, and corn starch, and mix well. Break bigger pieces of ground pork with the edge of a metal spatula. Remove from heat, and chill until time to stuff the pastries.

Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured, smooth, clean surface, roll out one of the dough rounds to a thin 1/8-inch thickness. (If refrigerated for more than an hour, you may need to let it sit for 10 minutes to soften it enough to roll it out more easily.) Use a wide mouthed mason jar ring (about 3 inches wide) to cut out rounds. Place them on a baking sheet.

If the dough becomes too soft put it back in the refrigerator to chill for 5 or 10 minutes.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the inside edge of the rounds with egg wash (to help the empanadas seal). Place a large teaspoon of meat inside each round. Fold the round over to and press the edges to seal shut. Use the tines of a fork to flute the edges. Place standing upright on a baking sheet, spaced an inch apart. (You can also lie them down, but with them upright, you'll fit more on a pan.) Use a pastry brush to brush the sides (not the bottom) of the empanadas with more egg wash.

Working in batches, cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 4 to 5 dozen empanada turnovers.

Chocolate Banana Empanadas

Use the same dough as above but make it a dessert by filling it with this recipe.

4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
A few drops almond extract
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon finely ground almonds (optional)

In the blender pulse the banana, sugar, orange juice and spices.  Pour them into a pan and stir over medium heat for 5-8 minutes.  Pour over the chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth.  Add the vanilla, almond extract and ground almonds.  

Fill your empanada and follow the recipe above for baking instructions.  You will only need ½ the dough recipe.  You can also freeze these. If there is any left over chocolate jam, put it in a jar and serve it on toast for breakfast.  It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.  

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pierce the top of each empanada with a fork to allow the dough to breath during the baking process (thus forming a flakier crust). You can brush the tops with an egg wash (1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water whisked together) but it’s not necessary. Bake the empanadas for 18 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

You may serve warm or cold.  Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it if you are serving it warm.  You can also drizzle it with chocolate syrup or sprinkle it with powdered sugar.   

Make the full dough recipe and make ½ savory and ½ dessert. 

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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