I don't do a lot of entertaining. I have a few friends in this country and generally we go out if we want to spend time together. This is because A) I hate doing the dishes and B) I cannot be bothered to slave away for someone to turn their nose up at something I spent painstaking amounts of time on. That sounds harsh, it probably is, but it's also just real life people. It hurts when you say you're "full" after one bite. Get a grip.
But if I had to put on a meal for other people then I would definitely start with these. And I encourage you to do the same. These little morsels of goodness are easy to make, easy to store, easy to serve and just downright delicious so get going people!.
Now there are a few different recipes for the pastry shell but if you look up empanadas on Google, it merely says that it's a baked or fried bread or pastry with filling and it's of Latin American origin.
I first had these when I went to Chicito's with a friend in Norwich and I loved them. They were on the starters menu and quickly became my favourite dish. In fact, one night I simply ordered every different flavour of empanadas and forfieted my main meal altogether.
I had never thought to make these at home until the other day when I had pizza dough left over from pizza night at the takeaway. So I did a bit of quick thinking and chopped a few things up and ended up with empandas.
You can make these and freeze them for up to 3 months, just take them out of the deep freeze and pop them straight into an oven to cook them, no need to thaw. Or you can cook them and pop them in lunch boxes or in the fridge (as if there will be any left). You can also make them bigger than mine, that's cool too.
Pizza Cheese Blend
Pizza Dough (made or bought)
Salt and Pepper
1// Start by chopping your pineapple rings into chunks and your ham into slices. If you're using other fillings like tomatoes or peppers etc then get them all cut up at this point. I like to make mine fairly small so they cook properly.
2// Roll your pizza dough out until fairly thin as if you're making a thing crust pizza. Then cut out circles from the dough.
3// Put your filling of choice in the centre of the dough cut out and sprinkle some pepper, salt and some pizza cheese on top (this will depend on the size of the empanada) then fold the dough over the filling and crimp closed. Poke a small hole in the pastry at the top to allow steam to escape.
4// You can brush the pastry with either an egg mixture or a milk mixture before popping in the oven at 200 degrees C for 15 - 20 minutes depending on size.
5// When you take the empanadas out, let them cool a little before serving because the filling can get really hot.
I served these on a platter with a homemade sweet tomato relish and sour cream. But you can use whatever sauce you want. Maybe some sweet chilli dipping sauce or a lovely caramelised onion jam?
I can also see these being served with an aoli and a wedge of lemon. Get creative.
Now I have to also mention that you can crimp these closed with a fork but I prefer to use the Cornish pasty crimping technique and fold the dough over itself. This is personal preference.
Also be warned that if you go too big on your empanadas it does just become a calzone at some point.
If you want to add something spicy like a spiced meat then I suggest you add a sauce. You can use left over bologonse mince and sauce or a spicy taco mince mixture. The cheese will give the inside some grease and sauce itself but if you're putting in a drier meat then add a tomato paste or sauce so it doesn't become too dry.