Breads / Breakfast/Tiffin items

Empanada

Mini empanadas

Mini empanadas

This was the Daring Baker’s Challenge last September. Each time I see one of these challenges being posted by so so so many blogs all over, my hands feel all itchy and the butter and flour automatically find their way on to the countertop! And I have all other ingredients ready on hand. And I also happen to have enough time the dish requires, for preparation+baking+post clean-up. Aaaand, last, but not the least, my kid is sleeping and the house is silent and peaceful and all my other chores have been tended to.

Err. I guess I got carried away just a little bit. So, no, none of this happens, except the itchy hands. And they keep itching for quite some time; for months, in some cases, and a year in this one. So, finally, I got down to making empanadas last afternoon. A whole year after I hopped from blog to blog that proudly displayed pretty pictures of prettily decorated empanadas.

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Basically, empanadas are pockets/pies of pastry or bread dough that pack in meats, veggies or even fruit. Thanks to Google, I found very many versions of empanada dough, some with yeast and others, without. I stuck to the yeast one because that is what was on the Daring Bakers challenge. Incidentally, let me clarify, I’m no Daring Baker, although I dare to bake a lot of stuff!

I made savoury mini empanadas in mini tart tins (roughly cupcake sized) filled with fresh cottage cheese (paneer) and capsicum, spiced with dried herbs. We had them with our dinner and I also passed on a few to friends. All of us just loved them. Incidentally, I quantity of filling I’d prepared was enough for just 5 empanadas (I had 7), so I stuffed the remaining with the cabbage-capsicum curry I’d prepared for dinner. I’ve adjusted the quantities for filling to comfortably fill 7.

Mini Empanadas with spicy cabbage-capsicum curry filling

Mini Empanadas with spicy cabbage-capsicum curry filling

Mini Empanadas with Fresh Cottage cheese, capsicum & herbs

Ingredients:

(Makes 7-8 mini empanadas of 2 inch base)

For the dough:

7 mini tart tins (2 inch base)

APF/Maida – 1 ½ cups

Sugar – 2 tsp

Salt – 1 ½ tsp

Red chilly flakes – ¼ tsp

Active dry yeast – 1 tsp

Warm water – ½ cup

Milk – ¼ cup

Oil – 2 tbsp

Melted butter – 1 tsp (to brush on the baked empanadas)

For the filling:

Milk – ¾ ltr

White vinegar/lemon juice – 1 tsp

Green capsicum – 2

Garlic powder – ½ tsp (or use 2-3 pods finely chopped)

Oil – 2 tbsp

Italian seasoning – 1 tsp or a mix of basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme

Salt

Cheese cloth/clean bit of linen

Strainer

Method:

Prepare the dough first

Mix sugar and warm water. Add yeast. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes till it turns bubbly. You can read this post if you want to know more about proofing yeast

Take flour in a wide bowl. Add red chilli flakes and salt and mix well

Add frothy yeast and milk and mix. The dough will be very sticky at first. Persevere and keep mixing with a strong wooden spoon

Once it starts to come together, add 1 ½ tbsp of oil and knead with your hands till the dough turns smooth and elastic

Grease the same bowl with the remaining oil and place the call of dough in it. Cover it with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for an hour or so till it doubles in bulk

In the meanwhile, prepare the filling

Line a strainer with cheese cloth or linen and place over another container

Bring the milk to a boil and stir in vinegar/lemon juice. Remove from heat and let it sit this way for a couple of minutes

Place it back on low heat for a minute or two and then increase heat and stir again. By now the curds would have separated and you should see a clear pale greenish liquid. If the liquid is still milky in appearance, add in another ½ tsp of vinegar/lemon juice and bring it to a boil

Once the milk curdles completely and you see the clear liquid, pour the ingredients into the cheese cloth-lined strainer. Cover with another bit of cheese cloth and place any filled container on it for a few minutes

In the meanwhile, dice the capsicum

Take oil in a pan and heat it

Add chopped capsicum (and minced fresh garlic, if using) and sauté for a couple of minute

Remove the weight and roughly crumble the cheese so formed. Do not throw away the water collected in the vessel below. You can use it in place of water while kneading dough for any sort of breads

Add the crumbled cheese and salt. Sauté for a few minutes till lightly browned

Remove from heat and add garlic powder and herbs. Set aside to cool

Assembling the mini empanadas:

Once the dough has doubled up, punch it down and knead for a minute

Divide it into 2 parts, one nearly double the size of the other

Roll out the larger ball of dough (slightly thicker than a chappati)

Cut out 7 rounds, each two inches larger than the top of your tart tin

Dust flour into the tart tins. Carefully press the rounds into the base tins and up the sides. There should be a comfortable ½ inch overhang all over

Step aside to preheat your oven to 180 deg C

Get back to the countertop and fill the empanadas with the filling previously prepared. Set aside

Roll out the remaining dough and cut out circles to fit the tops of the tart tins

Place these on the filled empanadas and push down the sides to cut out the excess dough

Use these trimmings to make patterns to decorate the tops of the empanadas

Brush the tops of the empanadas with milk and bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins till the tops turn golden brown

Remove tins from oven and rest for 5 mins. Brush them with melted butter

Gently ease the empanadas out of the tart tins and cool on a wire rack for sometime

Serve warm. If you plan to serve these later, warm them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds

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This is post for Day 5 of the A-Z series Blogging Marathon for the month of Sept. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32

BM

Logo courtesy : Preeti

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19 thoughts on “Empanada

  1. I too made these late for the challenge and I loved it a lot. Its kind of our own puffs, right :)..Anyway your mini bites look quite good and I am happy the itch is over 🙂

  2. Nandini…it is not fair how much can I book mark…you are driving me crazy with all these fantastic baked goodies…I think we need to have a meet soon ..we need to eat so much stuff made by you:)

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