Sunday, October 17, 2010


I recently attended a birthday party for a friend, and the guests were asked to bring a Spanish tapas-style appetizer to share.  Not being one to pass up a chance to bake, I started pouring through cookbooks, food blogs and other cooking websites, looking for just the right thing to bring. This was a little trickier than usual, because I had an extra requirement: it had to be something that could be made in advance (or at least mostly) because my work schedule was crazy just before the party, and I wouldn't have time to make something that day.

Enter the empanadas. 

These little beauties were perfect!  I could make them in advance and freeze them, and just bake them the day of the party!  I decided on two different types: Chorizo-potato and chocolate-banana.  The chorizo ones I chose because they were a little more appropriate for the theme, and the chocolate ones just looked too good to leave behind.

This was the first time I have ever made empanadas, and also the first time I have worked with chorizo, so it was a fun adventure, learning new things.  I'm happy to report that these were not difficult at all.  I just have a few little notes:
  • I made these smaller than the recipe states, because I wanted them to be two-bite treats.  This worked well, however it did mean it took more time to make them, because there was extra work to be done.
  • I had way more filling than I needed.  I made three batches of dough, and I still had about 3/4 cup of banana filling, and about 1 1/2 cups of chorizo filling left over.  I'm guessing this is because i made them small.  I stuffed as much filling in them as I could, and I was happy with the crust to filling ratio. I may freeze the extra chorizo filling to use later.  The banana filling is destined for some oatmeal.
  • After a little trial and error, I learned I needed to roll the dough thinner than I was originally thinking.  When they are small, it's easy for the filling to get overwhelmed by the crust, so just be careful about that.
(ha ha, get it?  "little" notes? hahaha!)

I used the same dough for both types, and it is a good general-use empanada dough:

Empanada Dough:
Source: Tyler Florence
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup masa-harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, masa-harina, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the melted butter.  Gradually add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water, working it in with your hands to incorporate; the dough should be easy to handle and not sticky. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

I recommend that if you let the dough chill for more than 30 minutes, you should let it hang out on the counter for a bit before using it.  It is pretty hard to work with when it's really cold.

Chorizo Potato Empanadas

Source: Tyler Florence,

3 to 4 waxy red or white potatoes (about 1/2 pound), peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound chorizo sausage, casing removed
1 Spanish onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
12 large pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 recipe empanada dough (above)


Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water; add the salt and bring to a boil, uncovered.  Simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium flame.  Add the chorizo, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, until the sausage renders its fat and gets crispy.  Add the onion and garlic; season with the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes, until the mixture is soft and has a beautiful red color.  Pour in the broth and simmer for 3 minutes. 

Drain the potatoes and fold them into the pan, using a wooden spoon, break up the potatoes into nickel-sized pieces.  Add the olives and raisins and toss everything together; season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Allow the filling to cool before filling the empanadas.  Serve with cilantro cream.

Lightly flour your rolling pin and counter.  Dived the dough in 1/2 so it will be easier to work with and roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness.  Using a 4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 10 circles of dough; repeat with other 1/2.

Spoon 2 generous tablespoons of filling into the center of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border  Brush the edges with the egg wash and then fold the dough over in 1/2 to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle.  Tightly seal the edges by crimping with the tines of a fork.  Chill at least 30 minutes before baking.  (flour pile note:  you can also freeze them at this point. poke some holes in the top first.  when you are ready to bake them, do not thaw them -- brush with egg wash and pop in the oven.  you will probably have to add a few extra minutes to the baking time)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the empanadas on a buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with additional egg wash.  Using a fork, prick a few holes in the top of the empanadas for steam to escape.  Bake for 30 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.

Cilantro Cream

1 cup sour cream
1/4 finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice together.  Mix thoroughly; season with salt and pepper.  Serve with empanadas.

Chocolate-Banana Empanadas

Source: Tyler Florence

4 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 recipe empanada dough
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken in chunks
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Mash the bananas, sugar, and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl until creamy, but not completely smooth -- you should still have pieces of banana chunks.  Spoon a generous tablespoon of the banana filling on the empanada pastry circles and stick a piece of chocolate on top.  Form and bake the empanadas as directed in the previous recipe.  Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve hot.

(flour pile note:  as you can see in the photo, i forgot the confectioners' sugar.  i almost made a cinnamon whipped cream to serve with these, but i didn't end up doing that.  i should have -- it would have been nice)

Both of these recipes were a total hit at the party, but the chorizo ones went faster.  I highly recommend you try these sometime!

And sorry, no photos of the disaster that was my kitchen after making all of these.  It was frightening, and I wouldn't want to scare you away.

1 comment:

  1. Those sound (and look) amazing! Thanks for posting the recipes, because I SO plan to try this!