Glenn Lindgren: In Spanish, 'empanar' means to bread, or coat with bread crumbs. Empanadas are pastries filled with meat, seafood, cheese, and so on. This dish probably originated in Galicia in Spain. It is a common dish throughout Latin America.
Jorge Castillo: They are extremely popular in Argentina and many of the varieties include hard boiled eggs and raisins!
Raúl Musibay: Empanadas are a popular item for street vendors, because they are easy to eat on the run.
Jorge Castillo: Empanadas come in all sizes, from large "complete meal" versions to small little bocaditos, used as appetizers at parties and family gatherings.
Glenn Lindgren: In Cuba, the empanada was most likely introduced by the Spanish and given an island flavor with a touch of citrus, garlic, onion and pepper.
Jorge Castillo: Many Cuban families make empanadas for special occasions like birthdays, baptisms, holidays -- any occasion that would have a party associated with it.
Raúl Musibay: Seems like everybody in Miami has a different empanada recipe!
Glenn Lindgren: Some are baked and some are fried.
Jorge Castillo: There's also several different types, each a little bit different -- Cuban, Colombian, Argentinean, Nicaraguan...
Raúl Musibay: And the fillings! There are many, many things you can put in an empanada!
Crisp, flaky wedges of pastry surround a filling of ham, beef, chicken and more!
INGREDIENTS:1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Sift the flour, then sift it again with the salt, baking powder, and sugar, and set aside. In a large bowl, using a hand or electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
See Cooking Instructions for Dough Recipe 1 BELOW
Makes 12 to 14 empanadas
See Cooking Instructions for Dough Recipe 2 BELOW
Lightly flour your work surface.
Divide the dough into four pieces (for the baked recipe, keep the pieces you aren't using in the refrigerator until you need them) and use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut the dough into circles, with a cookie cutter or small bowl.
(Size the circle according to how large you want your empanadas. We like a 4-inch diameter bowl.)
Put a small quantity of filling in the center of the circle and fold over to make a half circle.
Don't over-fill! Seal the edges with a fork to make a scalloped edge.
Don't over-fill! Use a pizza wheel to trim away the excess dough and make a nice half-moon shape. Seal the edges of the dough with your fingers to make a scalloped edge.
Preheat the oven to 350º
Place the pastries on a lightly greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart, brush with the egg wash, and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. They can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and reheated in a 350º oven for 4 to 6 minutes.
Heat oil in a frypan to 350º F. (Or you can use a deep fat fryer.)
Fry the empanadas in the oil, turning occasionally until brown on all sides.
Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
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