I mentioned these a few days back when I was reminiscing about childhood picnics, and to satisfy the craving that the mere mention of them brought on, I did actually make some last week. Empanadas are South American pasties - if you've watched 'The Hairy Bikers' you may recall them making meat ones...
It's a shame they went all the way to La Boca and then committed the heinous crime of describing the empanadas as 'Argentinean'. This word makes my Mum's blood boil (and she is otherwise very even tempered!) - 'It's Argentine - the country is not Argentinea!' she will say!
It's well worth watching this second part just to see how he crimps the edges, and for his explanation of how his Mum used to do it...
If you are lucky enough to visit Argentina, you can buy a huge selection of empanadas, savoury or sweet, and, as the Hairy Biker said, each different filling is signalled by different crimping. Some are fried, others baked. But the best I've ever tasted are my Mum's sweetcorn ones, so here is the recipe.
First make a batch of pastry.
500g plain flour
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar (I used less)
a glass of cold milk
These are the traditional ingredients, but I made two lots of pastry last week, one with the lard and one with Trex, to make them vegetarian.
Miss U-t-B and I then did a blind tasting. There was a bit of difference to both taste and texture - I preferred one and she the other, so use what you will!
Chill the pastry thoroughly before rolling and cutting into circles. I cut round a small side plate, but you could use a saucer for smaller emapanadas for nibbles.
Next the filling.
Fry 1 tablespoon of very finely chopped onion in a little butter.
Add in the chopped up flesh from 1 skinned and de-seeded tomato. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
Add a tin of sweetcorn (I don't bother draining it) and enough milk to make a mixture with a bit of sauce, but not overly saucy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar (I reduced this too - our sweetcorn is sweet enough these days!) and salt to taste, then stir in 1 egg yolk. Cool before filling.
Dollop the filling onto the pastry circles.
Fold in half and crimp. No false teeth here! (You need to watch the Hairy Bikers to understand that.)
I used a fork for the Trex ones and fingers for the lardy ones.
Bake at 180C/350F/Gas 4 till golden brown.
For me they are best served warm (not keen on that McDonalds Apple Pie sensation of burnt mouth...) but for picnics, cold works too.