Guapo. Not pretty, not dainty, not elegant, but handsome. That’s the only way I can think of to describe these baked empanadas I made a few weeks ago. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you will know there are a few things I haven’t been able to conquer, amongst them, shaping dough properly in stwists, turns, folds, etc. And further, I haven’t yet arrived at an empanada recipe I am proud to call my own and which I would use repeatedly. I vacillate between more flakey, flavorful butter like doughs, infuriatingly complicated and exasperating scaled doughs, and simple but more traditional doughs using lard. The blog is splattered with posts here, here, here and here related to empanadas.
The last time I made empanadas, using Claudia Roden’s recipe, I was quite pleased, but I am always willing to try another version. These empanadas use a dough from Francis Mallmann’s WONDERFUL cookbook “seven fires, grilling the argentinian way”… The dough uses pork lard, is extremely easy to make and handle and roll, and it yielded these wonderful looking baked empanadas. Here is the recipe. First make a salmuera, or boiled salted water. Bring 2 cups of water and 1.5 tablespoons of salt to a boil, then add 3.5 tablespoons of pure leaf lard and transfer all the liquid to a wide mixing bowl and let it cool to roughly 80F. Add roughly 6 cups of flour and mix it in with your hands, and use up to 7 cups flour total. Knead of a clean surface, flouring the surface as needed, you will end up with a stiff dryish dough. Divide the dough into two, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for several hours before using. Good for about 18-22 small to medium empanadas.
These particular empanadas were filled with tuna, but I am itching to develop a nice meaty empanda filling in the weeks ahead. At least I have the dough part worked out. Thank you Mr. Mallmann. :)