If you think about, this is another food you can find almost in every country around the world with its own version of a pastry or dough stuffed with sweet or savory fillings: Cornish pasties, pirogi, samosas, dumplings, turnovers, pastels, etc. They can be served alone or as a side dish. Empanadas are a very versatile, once you know the basic method, you can try different fillings. It is a great way to use seasonal veg and fruits. This version is always a hit in our household and amongst our friends.
For the pastry
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
85g butter, chilled and diced
2 eggs, beaten, plus extra for glaze
4-6 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes/powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 can tuna, drained
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Add the beaten eggs and the water, a little at a time, mixing them with the knife, then your fingertips, until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in a fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until soft.
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli, cumin, paprika, tuna and parsley, mix well, season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the mixture aside to cool.
5. Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 3mm thick. Use a 9cm (or close to) pastry cutter to cut out circles.
6. Put a heaped teaspoon of the filling inside each circle, then brush the edges with water. Fold the pastry over to form a half-moon shape, then firmly crimp the edges to seal.
7. Place the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. We had them on a side with Gaspacho.
P.S Unfortunately, I can not remember which book the recipe came from. I had a black & white copy of it without any references on it for ages. I treasure it very much and now would like to share it with you, as this recipe is excellent and works every time.