I recently posted a recipe about how much I love tortillas. I happened to mention that they could be used with infinite fillings. And I meant it.
I may have also mentioned at this point that I don’t have an oven. We still don’t know if this will have been a long term move or if we’ll be making planes to hop on that big bird in the sky and head back to the Midwest. So an oven has not been bought (nor has a blender of any kind, which has also limited some of my kitchen creativity).
But, as long I as can use a beer bottle to make a round tortilla, I can have a doughy treat.
This morning’s brunch has been brought to you by a fried tortilla in the shape of a pocket holding lots of ooey gooey cinnamon apples and covered in slivers of persimmon.
PERSIMMAPPLE EMPANADA RECIPE
Sweet Empanada Dough
(makes 6 medium sized empanadas)
-1 ½ cups corn flour+1/4 cup sprinkled on top of dough if too moist
-2 tsp sugar
-Pinch of salt
-¾ c hot tea (I used leftover Jasmine tea from our pre-brunch cup) or water
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Cover a flat surface (a cutting board for example° with a little plastic wrap or parchment paper and lightly oil. This is where you can set your empanadas before you fry. You don’t want them to stick!
Then follow the same directions for rolling out as in the corn tortilla recipe. Click the link for a refresher course:)
Cooked Persimmapple Filling
(Sorry, I wish this picture did the filling justice-you don’t want a runny filling though!)
-4 apples, peeled and cubed
-2 persimmons, peeled and cubed
-2 TBS butter
-1 3/4 cup jasmine tea (or earl grey, or water)
-¾ cup sugar
-2 cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon to taste (start with a tsp. if you aren’t great at the whole ‘to taste’ thing)
-1 tsp vanilla (I can’t find vanilla here in China, but I know I wanted this today…)
-½ tsp ground ginger
Add butter, fruit, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, 1 cup of the jasmine tea, and sugar. Let simmer on low heat until the water starts to evaporate. Gradually add the rest of the water ¼ cup at a time as the water evaporates. That way the apples won’t burn and will be able to cook sufficiently as you prepare the empanada dough.
Once the apples look slightly caramelized and you’ve tasted them to check that they are a) soft and properly cooked and b) delicious, put them into a bowl and let them cool.
Warning: Do not put the apples into the empanada dough until it has cooled off. If the mixture is too hot, your tortilla will fall apart and you will not be able to fry anything because you’ll have an ooey gooey mess.
So, now we’ve come to the ‘trickiest’ part of making an empanada (secret: it really isn’t that tricky)…closing it, of course!
(I love how the rims kind of puff up-they really add a lot of texture to the empanada.)
The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t overfill your empanada circle. I’ve made this mistake many times, because I’m a generous chef, what can I say (or my eyes are bigger than the dough?).
Then, you fold one half over the filling. and there shold be a rim…if there isn’t one, gently use your pinky to press down and curve the filling.
Starting at one end of your half circle, take the corner of the empanada and curl it up and over and press it into the rim. Repeat this process over and over and over again. Congatulations! You’ve just made that prettty braid-like edge! Now, if you are a visual learner or you didn’t like my instructions, you should go on YouTube and type ‘How to Fold An Empanada”-that’s actually how I learned. I’ll try to make savoury empanadas soon and do an Empanada folding tutorial in pictures!
Frying the Empanadas:
Now that you’ve got 2 or 3 magnificent-looking empanadas you get to fry them! Heat yoru frier (or in my case, a frying pan with a thick layer of oil) using vegetable or canola or any oil (Except fish!! I almost fried these in FISH OIL-we thought the fish on the bottle was the brand!!) you would usually use fry, heat until…hot, but not smoking! Then, gently place your empanadas into the pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, flip, repeat and place onto a plate with a towel.
You should be able to make 6 medium empanadas for a lovely mid-morning snack (or maybe just breakfast?).
Cultural Note: Each country has their own version of an empanada. Each family has their own recipe for an empanada. Each person will tell you that they know the person who makes the best empanandas, or that their country has the best empanadas. The moral of the story is that, empanadas are deeply personal. It would be kind of like discussing whose family has the best pancake recipe in the USA. We have all been conditioned by the love our mommas put onto our plates on cold weekend mornings.