Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Empanaditas, island style

It's the last week of class so today instead of a lecture we had a shared lunch (we are a small class).
The only criteria was that we had to talk about how our dish related to globalisation and popular culture in the Pacific. I was going to make pineapple pies, a la Samoa, after finding this recipe on a blog. However the heavens weren't aligning and my first attempt was thwarted by a lack of coconut cream and the second by the internet going down meaning I couldn't access the recipe.

The clock was ticking and I only had a few hours left to conjure up something (I did nip to the shop for more coconut cream in the end), and so today a new recipe was born. Empanadas, island style.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • Water to mix
Rub the butter into the flour and salt mixture. Add water, stirring with a bread knife, until it forms a stiff dough. Put it in the fridge to chill while you make the fillings. 

That's my generic empanada pastry recipe. You can double or triple it depending on how many people you have to feed. 

Pineapple filling
  • 1 400g can crushed pineapple in its own juice
  • 1 generous tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
Tip the tin of pineapple into a pan/pot. Add the custard powder and sugar and stir on a low heat until it thickens nicely. 

Luau filling
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 bunch silver beet (Swiss chard), stalks removed, chopped roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cube vegetable stock
  • splash of lime or lemon juice
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (mixed with a tiny bit of water)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chuck everything in a pot and stir over a low heat until it's thickened up nicely. 


Assemble as you would regular empanadas - roll the pastry out on a floured bench, creating circles of pastry by tracing around a ramekin or plate of your choice with a sharp knife. Run a wet finger around the edge of the circle, place a tsp or tbsp (depending on the size of the circle) of filling into the centre and close by pinching around the edges. Press around the edge with a fork or fold like you would a cornish pasty (like a wee stegosaurus). 

Brush with a beaten egg and cook at 200 degrees C for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Dust the pineapple ones with icing sugar to serve. 

So easy and so delicious if I do say so myself. The class seemed to love them (yay) and not a single one was left on the plate...

The dishes the other students brought were so delicious too. It was a proper island feast with keke saina (Samoan biscuits), kumara cooked in coconut cream, coconut buns, taro chips, out of this world Hawaiian Ono (sp?) chicken, chop suey, surimi salad made with best foods mayo (of course) etc. It was a lot of fun. I'll miss this class. Speaking of which I should really go and finish my homework...

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