January 22, 2008
I hope you’re not sick of hearing about the engagement party I cooked for last weekend yet. I know, after two days’ worth of posts, I might be trying your patience just an itsy-bitsy bit. But, hang on, because today’s post will make you glad you did.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
These tiny empanadas—they were no more than two inches across—might as well be called the magical, disappearing empanadas. Because, on Saturday night, I piled a giant platter with at least 100 of these babies and, I kid you not, the next time I breezed by the buffet table, there were only crumbs—crumbs!—in their place.
So I’m glad that I didn’t take any risks. You see, once I pulled them from the oven on Saturday, moments before the door bell was about to start ringing, I popped one in my mouth to give them a test drive. So I have proof beyond the vanishing act to assure me that these spinach, cheese, raisin, and hazelnut filled nuggets were completely delicious.
The pastry shell was flaky and delicate and buttery. And the filling was savory and hearty, with a pleasantly surprising burst from the raisins and crunch from the hazelnuts. And the melty manchego cheese shreds melded it all together with its smokiness and nuttiness. Can you blame me for test driving them before the guests arrived? I mean, it was all in the name of research! How else could I have described them to you? You can thank me later.
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
Kristin’s Note: From here, I rolled the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut out rounds using a 3-inch round cutter. Then, I filled each round with a heaping teaspoon of the filling (recipe below) and crimped them shut. I flash froze them (froze them lying flat on a baking sheet until they were frozen, so they wouldn’t stick together) and piled them into a large Ziploc, which I froze until just before the party. Then, I baked them on a cookie sheet, straight from the freezer and with a glaze of egg wash, at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Recipe for Spinach, Manchego Cheese, Raisin & Hazelnut Filling Here