Monday, November 9, 2009


Empanadas, mini calazones, chili pops -- call them whatever you want but the bottom line is anything enclosed in a flaky crust is going to taste twice as good! I did hold the line a bit on the amount of fat in the pastry for these -- in fact they're a good deal healthier than a lot of "biscuit crust" recipes out there. I was shocked to see some that called for 3/4 cup shortening for the same amount of flour as my recipe uses. That's totally not necessary. I think you'll find these fill the bill nicely. I used the recipe on my blog entitled "Veggie Prairie Girl's Chili" (dated 11/07/09) for the filling. The amount of chili in that recipe will make 24 empanadas. The dough here only makes 12 empanadas so you would have to double it to make 24.

Make sure to use the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks as this margarine is harder than their tub margarines and therefore more suitable for flaky type dough. They're also easier to work with as they are pre-measured in 4 half cup sticks.

You can certainly use 2 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour in place of what I have used and I would strongly suggest doing so if you don't like the grittiness that cornmeal adds to the crust. I only ever have unbleached white flour on hand so when I prefer something a little more hearty I add wheat bran to it and it works. I do like the addition of a bit of cornmeal to chili-filled empanadas -- gives the empanada crust a nice golden color plus it gives it a little crunch. My DD didn't enjoy the addition of cornmeal so next time I'll try this with cornflour instead because I still like the idea of the golden hue it imparts to the final product. She also requested a spinach,potato,tofu,pesto filled empanada so that will be on the to-try-list as well! The sky is literally the limit when it comes to what you can stuff in an empanada and I am hoping to fill my freezer with lots of different kinds so that we can trim our food budget a bit! DD loves Aunty Trudy's products put they're a bit pricey at $3.99 each! They are very good though so if you haven't tired them give them a look see!

1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup fine grind cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2/3 cup soy milk (use original flavor)

Measure flour, wheat bran, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and chili powder into a bowl. Cut in margarine thoroughly. Blend with fork or rub through with both hands until it's all mixed in very well. Add 1/3 cup of the milk. Continue adding the remainder at about the rate of 1 tablespoon at a time until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.

Gather dough into ball. Divide into 12 equal pieces. With the aid of a rolling pin make circles approximately 5" in diameter. If you want them all to be the same exact size (I do) roughly roll out your circles and then press them to fit into a round plastic lid. I used the lid from a two cup round ziploc container -- it's the perfect size for this empanada and you will achieve cloned specimens -- which is the look you are going for! You can of course also roll out the dough and use a 5" cutter but I find my method is easier and you're not constantly rolling and re-rolling which in my mind is more work plus the more you roll the tougher your dough gets. Nevertheless, this is a method that is shown in many cookbooks so who am I to say it's not right! You choose how to get your perfect circles. Anyhow the next step is to put in about 2 tablespoons of filling. Don't go crazy and overfill or you'll have troubles making a proper seal. Pinch closed, sealing edges well. Put on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400F for about 20-25 minutes.

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