Sunday, September 30, 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Empanadas

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers' Hostess, and she decided to tempt us with one of her family's favorite recipes for empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our empanadas as creatively as we wished!

After living in South Florida for several years, I have eaten a lot of Cuban style empanadas, which are smaller pastries, so I was surprised to learn that the traditional Spanish empanada is baked as one large pastry.  The dough was very simple and easy to work with, so I'll definitely make it again.  I chose to fill my empanada with spinach, artichoke, tomatoes and cheese.  It was delicious, and reminded me of a calzone!

Make dough by sifting flour into bowl, and adding remaining ingredients.

Allow dough to rise for about 30 minutes.

Cook vegetables for filling on stovetop.

Roll out bottom layer of empanada, and add filling.

Add top layer of empanada and seal the layers of dough together.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F, and enjoy!

Spinach, Artichoke, and Tomato Empanada

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup less one tablespoonful vegetable oil
1 satchel (1 tablespoonful) dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil
9 oz box frozen artichoke hearts
A couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
1 tomato
1 cup ricotta cheese 
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Salt, to taste

1. Make dough: Sift the flour into a large bowl, and make a well.  Add all of the remaining dough ingredients in well, and mix with wooden spoon.  After ingredients are incorporated, turn dough out onto counter and knead for 8 minutes.  Form dough into a ball, and place in bowl covered with saran wrap to rise for about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare filling by sauteing the artichoke hearts, spinach, and tomato in olive oil.  Allow to cool.

3. Mix together ricotta, mozzarella and salt.

4. Line baking sheet or pie tin with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.

5. Cut dough in half and roll out first half to about 1/10 inch thick.  Cut dough to fit baking sheet or pie tin. 

6. Spread the cheese mixture onto the bottom layer of the empanada, and top with the sauteed vegetables.

7. Roll out second half of dough, and place on top of the filling.  Pinch together the two layers of dough, and use fingers to create a rope-like border.  Cut a one-inch hole on top of pastry, to allow steam to escape.  Use any excess dough to make decorations on the empanada.

8. Bake for about 45 minutes, until both layers of dough are fully done.  

9. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then enjoy!

-Posted by Jennifer