Got my empanada makers a while back and gave 'em a try. Empanadas can be sweet or savory. You can fill them with just about anything: meat fillings, cheese fillings, lunch meat, vegetables, fruits, etc. I, of course, decided to use apple pie filling first time around.
You can also use just about any kind of dough: Pizza dough, pie crust, croissant, crescent, puff pastry or phyllo dough. I intend to try all of these, but this time I just used my own pie crust recipe.
My filling was a little of this and a little of that, so I can't give you the recipe. The crust, however, is old, tried and true. I got this recipe from a home economics teacher, when I was a newlywed, and a first year teacher. Probably in the teachers' lounge I said something about my bad cooking, so this nice lady invited me to audit her 8th grade cooking classes. It was fun and I got some great recipes.
BASIC PIE CRUST
|2 cups flour|
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup solid shortening (Crisco or butter)
|¼ cup shortening|
4-6 tablespoons water
|Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Add ½ cup shortening and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer until mixture looks like corn meal.|
|Add ¼ cup shortening and cut in with your hands, a pastry blender, two knives, or whatever. The result will be a mixture with larger bits of shortening, not like corn meal anymore.|
|Add water gradually and stir with a fork or your hands. Stop adding water when the dough sticks together and forms a soft ball. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.|
|Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, trying not to overwork it.|
For regular pies:
If you are making empty pie shells, let the prepared shells rest for 20 minutes before baking. This will prevent them from shrinking. Also, place dry beans in the shells before baking, to keep the bottom flat. Bake empty pie shells at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
|For regular pies:|
Bake 2-crust pie at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Bake pumpkin pie at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake another 40 minutes or so, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
The empanada makers come with instructions. Basically, you use one side to cut the circle of dough, then turn it over and lay the dough on the side with the "teeth." Then put 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the circle, brush a little water around the outside edge, and fold the form over and press the edges together.
I made the beginner's mistake of over filling my empanadas, but they stayed closed and baked beautifully anyway. I baked them at 400 for about 15 minutes.
|Pie and Coffee, Anyone?|