I spotted an article on a new book Paladares: Recipes Inspired by the Private Restaurants of Cuba, by Anya von Bremzen, who has written several cookbooks that I liked. I quickly bought it, Amazon Prime quickly delivered it, and I have now cooked two recipes from it. These curried chicken empanadas were popular at two parties this past week. The cream cheese based pastry was easy to work with, puffed nicely, and was flavorful, as was the filling. This same dough would be good with a variety of fillings. To save work, I used a rotissary chicken from the supermarket as the source of the cooked chicken in the filling. (Note Dec. 2022 – I have also made it with Stewed Chicken Breast . To help avoid overworkening and toughening the dough, I used a technique I learned from Serious Eats for finishing pastry dough, working it in a bowl with a spatula.
This recipe made about 36 empanadas with 3-inch doughs
For the Dough
1-1/2 cups (190 g) all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, chilled
2 Tbs. dry white wine
6-8 Tbs. ice water
1 egg yolk, for an egg wash
For the Filling
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup (125 g.) finely chopped onions
4 tsp. curry powder
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
2 Tbs. chopped raisins
2 Tbs. Thai sweet chili sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Add on top of the dry ingredients the cream cheese cut into cubes, and the butter cut into pats. Pulse until there are small (1/4 inch) pieces of butter and cream cheese remaining. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and sprinkle on the wine and 6 Tbs. of ice water. Use a spatula to fold and press the dough until it comes together in a ball. Add additional water if needed. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
Make the filling by heating the olive oil in a frying pan, and sauteing the onions until translucent. Add the currey powder and briefly cook until fragrant. Then remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, raisins, and chili sauce. Taste for seasoning and cool to room temperature.
Mix the egg yolk with 2 Tbs. of water to make the egg wash. Have handy a small bowl of flour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into 3 inch circles. Moisten the rim of each circle with the egg wash, and fill each circle with a packed tablespoon of the filling. Fold the dough into a half moon shape and crimp together the rim, using flour from the bowl to keep your hands dry. Place the filled empanadas on a cookie sheet with baking parchment. After all the circles have been filled, if there is more filling, form the remnants into a ball, and reroll them until the dough is again 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough and fill the circles as discussed previously. When all the dough is filled. Crimp the edges with a fork and brush each empanada with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.