Best dough for empanadas
I love empanadas and like to serve them to company in the afternoon.
I used to make them quite often but haven't done it in awhile. The last time I made them it took me forever and was quite a hassle. Is there a hassle free way to make empanadas and what is your favorite dough? The easier the better.
I won't even get into fillings because there are endless variations and it's a matter of preference as well. I'll quote Cole Porter here and say "Anything Goes".
Thanks in advance.
I'm going to monintor this thread! I'm cooking for my baby shower, and mini empanadas sound like a great idea! Two recipes I have use pastry pie dough, one with lard. Lard-based pastry dough makes sense to me, but I wonder if there is a more "foolproof" version w/ egg that might be a bit sturdier for hand eating?
Interested in chowhounders ideas....
I've always made them with a calzone dough, which I make from memory with no recipe - basically an olive-oil pizza dough with some egg for added elasticity. That is more similar to how Chileans make them - Argentineans tend to make them with a flakier pastry-type dough.
I buy the frozen dough rounds for the latter now, as there is an Argentine butcher's and grocery round the corner from me (see Québec board) - they are made with vegetable margarine, not butter or lard. I'm sure there are lard, suet and butter versions, but both kosher and vegetarian empanadas do exist, so...
Here is an amazing and simple recipe for plantain empanadas - the result is just slightly sweet.
3 large yellow ripe plantains (about 2 lbs.)
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
cut the ends off the unpeeled plantains. make a shallow incision down their length, then cut crosswise in half. bake on a sheet for about 40 minutes at 350. remove, peel and release steam and cool. place in food processor and puree. add flour and salt.
My pal from Argentina is a fantastic cook. She buys premade frozen empanada dough imported from Argentina and tells me that most Argentines use the prefab stuff. It's good quality and saves a lot of time. Strangely (in Ann Arbor, MI) the local Mediterranean market has a good selection of Argentine groceries. Go figure...
Good ones do take quite a bit of effort to make what with the cooking the filling, cooling, filling the empanada and cooking the whole thinng, but one shortcut you can definitely use is the premade frozen dough. The brand I've seen around the most is La Saltena. There are two different kinds though (one for frying and one for baking) so make sure you get whichever one is appropriate.
I've been using the La Salteña shells (para el horno) for the past few years and highly recommend them. They're made with very few and simple ingredients (real butter!). I can find them (in the freezer section) at some of my favorite Latino markets for under $3 (15 shells in a package) - which for me often turns out to be cheaper than buying the butter and flour for a short pastry.
I usually cut the whole stack of them in half while they're still frozen to make empanaditas.
I grew up eating homemade empanadas and have got to say that the pre-fab pastry disks vary a great deal in quality, and are definately not as good as homemade dough. But, that said, they are very convenient and I use them myself most of the time, and leave the homemade version to my tia at home. It depends on if you are making fried or baked empanadas, too. I have never found pre-made dough that I like for baked empanadas (I don't really like any of the argentine brands that we get in the U.S.), and think you are really better of making this yourself. But for fried ones, the best brand I've found is actually from Brazil. I don't remember the brand right now, but it comes in a red package. I made some just a few days ago and froze the leftovers. If you check my blog in a week or so (by this wednesday) I should have some pictures posted. http://dinner-bell.blogspot.com