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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Empanadillas

Empanadillas are small, filled Spanish pastries and these are so tasty.  By making the pastry with sherry the flavour is out of this world!!  I like to fill them with tuna, mayo and piquillo pepper.  This is an easy to follow recipe giving you 12 -14 pastries but some of the techniques will require some patience and practice.

Ingredients for the Pastry

125 g plain flour
125 g self raising flour
100 ml olive oil
100 ml dry sherry
Start by sifting the flours together and add a pinch of salt. I start by adding the olive oil and "rubbing" it into the flour (very similar to adding the fat when making regular pastry).  Now add the sherry and make as you would pastry to incorporate all the liquid and the pastry comes together in a ball.  Once you have a ball of pastry wrap it in cling film and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.  The pastry requires delicate handling and does not like to be worked too hard.  You will find that it becomes elastic and tough as the gluten strengthens it.
For the filling I use a little tuna mixed with some mayonnaise, chop in some piquillo pepper (small roasted red peppers) and parsley.  Try using minced chicken or minced pork (both cooked first) with some herbs, spices and seasonings.
Once the pastry has rested we need to roll it out and cut it.  Use half the pastry at a time.
On a floured surface roll it out to about 3 mm thickness. 
I use a 10 cm round cutter to portion it up.  Pull away the excess  pastry.
In the centre of each round put a teaspoon of the filling and then fold the round in half.  Using the prongs of a fork press the sides together where they meet making sure to seal in the filling.
It is possible to use the excess pastry that you have but do not overwork the pastry.  You will notice that as you roll it out it has become elastic and shrinks after you have cut it.
Now that you have a batch of neat sealed pastries it's time to cook them.  The easiest way is in a deep fryer set at 175C.  If, however, you don't have one, put 2 cm of oil in a pan over medium heat and fry them on both sides until the pastry is cooked.  You can eat them straight way, eat them cooled or re-heat them later either in the oven or fryer.