Sunday, January 16, 2011



Empanadita Dough
3¾ -Cup Flour
¼ -Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1- Tablespoon Sugar
6 -Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
12- Tablespoon (1 ½ sticks) Butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
½ -Cup plus 2 tablespoons Ice Water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the vegetable shortening and the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, slowly add the water through the feed tube, and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Use your hands to pat the dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight, until completely chilled. The dough may be kept for 1 day in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
Beef Empanaditas
3- Tablespoons olive oil
1- Small Onion, minced
2- Teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger
1- Pound Lean Ground Beef
2- Medium Tomatoes, seeds removed, cut into small dice
½- Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½- Teaspoon Ground Coriander
¼ -Cup Dried Cherries, roughly chopped
1- Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 1/3 -Cup Tomato Sauce
4 -Teaspoons Sugar
Kosher Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
1- Large Egg
1 -Tablespoon Milk

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cherries, and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 12 minutes over low heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and milk. Set aside; Roll the dough out to a thickness that is between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch. Using a 3 ¼ inch cookie cutter cut out 48 rounds, rerolling the dough one time. Place the rounds onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minute.

Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of 1 circle. Using your finger to brush a little of the egg wash onto the inner rim of the circle. Fold the circle in half, forming a half moon, Pinch the edges together with your fingers, and use a fork to seal the empanadita. Using your forefinger; push the sealed edge of the dough toward the filling to form the fluted edge. Brush the top of the empanadita with the egg wash and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with all of the empanaditas and bake until the dough is golden, 15 or 20 minutes. Serve warm.

When I hear empanaditas I think of South America. This is where I had my first empanadita and fell in love with the little meat pie with flaky pastry. The pasty for the empanadita in this recipe was excellent, light and flaky. The sour cherries added to the flavor, however, next time I make these, I will make the pies a little larger and find a dipping sauce to serve them with. I would also like to try deep frying them.

The recipe is very different from what I remember as food is not spicy in South America. There empanaditas are baked but the best empanadita I’ve ever tasted were in Santiago, Chile. They were made with cheese and deep friend, so delicious!

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