15 November 2016

5.03 Mini Empanadas - Party Food - Intermediate

These tasty little treats are somewhere between a dumpling, a pie, and a savoury donut. If that sounds at all weird to you, please don't be dissuaded, because they're really good. (Flavourwise, anyway. Definitely not healthwise!)

2 cups of plain white flour
150g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup water, chilled
1 egg, chilled
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Oil (for deep-frying)

Okay, so these ingredients are just to make the dough. I will include some filling options after the recipe but I'd like to stress the fact that you can fill these with practically anything. Experiment a bit!


1. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a generous pinch of salt into a food processor and blend until well mixed.

2. Add the butter and blend to a consistency like fine breadcrumbs.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and water until combined.

4. Add the egg and water mix to the food processor and blend until everything comes together into a dough.

5. Scatter some flour on your bench, turn out the dough and knead for around 5 minutes then wrap with clingfilm and place into the refrigerator for around 20-30 minutes to chill.

6. Preheat your deepfryer oil to 180°C (350°F).

7. Cut the chilled dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each quarter out to approximately 1/2 cm thick (approx. 1/5 inch).

8. Use a round pastry cutter roughly 10cm (or 4 inches) wide to cut out circles of dough.

9. Place approx. 2 tbsp of filling into the middle of each circle. (Once again, the filling is totally by preference.)

10. Brush the edges of the dough circles with some water and press together, then fold the edges over a bit at a time to seal the empanadas. (This is called "crimping" for those of you who are new to this.)

11. Fry the empanadas in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown, then drain on some paper towel before serving.

Makes 20-30.

A video of this recipe is available at https://youtu.be/soPUIKMs7do.


Okay, so I'll share 3 different fillings, none of which are too overly complicated.

Also, I will provide an alternative use for each filling in case you decide you like it and want to use it in other ways.

Filling #1: Potato, Chorizo & Cheese

Basically all in the name.

Alternate Use: Add some to a couple of eggs whisked with some sour cream for a simple and tasty frittata (basically an omelette).

1 cup potato, boiled and diced
1 cup chorizo, diced
1/2 cup manchego cheese, grated
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup coriander, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

I have specified that the potato should already be boiled and cooked, this is just to speed the process along. If you can't be bothered boiling a potato, I'm fairly sure I've seen pre-boiled tinned baby potatoes in most supermarkets (although I've never bought them!). Skins can be on or off, it's up to you.

If you can't get manchego cheese, just use cheddar.

I've listed both normal coriander AND ground coriander. Ground coriander is actually made from the dried seeds and has a completely different flavour to the fresh herb. If you want to leave out the fresh stuff then I'll understand, but please try to keep the ground coriander if you make this.


1. Place the chorizo into a cold pan, then turn on to medium high heat and fry until it releases its oil and begins to turn crispy. Transfer to a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

2. Add a splash of oil to the pan then add the potato and fry for 1-2 minutes or until the edges start to crumble.

3. Add the ground cumin and ground coriander along with a generous pinch of salt and continue to fry until the edges start to go crispy.

4. Transfer the potato to the bowl of chorizo and allow to cool.

5. Add the manchego, feta and chopped coriander to the bowl and mix until everything is evenly dispersed. The filling is now ready to use for both the empanadas and the alternative use.

Filling #2: Spicy Seafood

Once again, all in the name.

Alternative Use: Eat hot with some rice (kind of like a seafood chile con carne?).

1 cup raw fish, diced
1 cup raw peeled prawns, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup chopped coriander
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tbsp caster sugar

The type of fish doesn't really matter all that much. Use something you like if you have a preference.

Yes, yes, MORE coriander! As the season progresses you'll keep seeing it in my ingredients. I promise it's still my 2nd-most-hated herb, I just can't get away from it in this type of cuisine.


1. Add some oil to a pan over medium-high heat, add the onion along with a generous pinch of salt and fry until softened.

2. Add the garlic and continue to fry until it begins to brown.

3. Add the chilli powder and sugar and fry for 30-60 seconds. (The sugar will start to caramelise everything so keep an eye on it or it may burn.)

4. Add the tomato paste and water and stir to combine, then simmer until reduced slightly.

5. Add the fish and prawns and simmer until cooked.

6. Transfer to a bowl and mix through the coriander. Allow to cool completely if you're going to use it as a filling for your empanadas, otherwise eat it hot as per the alternative use.

Filling #3: Apple & Cinnamon

Pretty sure you'll be able to guess at least 2 of the ingredients in this!

While empanadas are traditionally savoury, I thought it was worthwhile experimenting with a sweet filling. Dust them with some icing sugar to add a little more sweetness.

Alternative Use: Add to the bottom of a lined cake tin, top with your favourite sponge cake batter, and bake as normal for an upside-down apple tea cake.

2 1/2 cups apple, diced
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of 1 orange

For this amount of apple, it's basically 3 whole cored apples. I've never really paid attention to the type of apples I use in cooking. I know some are meant for baking, some for eating, etc. but I've never taken much notice. I think I used Pink Lady for this? And I left the skin on because, really, who can be bothered?

While this is a sweet filling, I've included salt. You won't need much of this, and it's really there to draw some of the moisture out of the apples so they soften faster.


1. Off the heat, add the orange zest and juice to a saucepan along with the sugar, cinnamon and a small pinch of salt. Stir together until combined.

2. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook until bubbling and reduced, stirring occasionally. (The ground cinnamon will thicken the mixture quite quickly, which is why I've recommended a lower heat than usual.)

3. Add the apple and mix until coated, then cook for approx. 5 minutes or until softened.

4. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely before using in either the empanadas or the alternative use.

A video of all 3 recipes is available at https://youtu.be/evlkbk_1jBs.

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