Empanadas: for many people they evoke memories of times spent in the kitchen with their grandmothers, working on the dough that makes this classic food a beloved part of many families’ book of recetas. Since the empanada was invented many centuries ago in the Galician region of Spain, it has become a staple of kitchens from South America to the United States. Like most foods, whether you’re talking about flan or bocadillos para fiestas, empanadas are now readily available in pre-made versions in supermarkets. However, as many home cooks have found out, the best empanadas aren’t made in factories but in home kitchens.
We get it, though: the idea of making anything worthy of being called “the best empanadas” at home seems impossible. Empanadas are known to split open or fall apart if they aren’t made just right, leading to frustration and anxiety for many a home cook that has attempted this classic “hot pocket.” If this sounds like you, these tips for making the best empanadas can help you avoid anymore empanada catastrophes.
Become the Emperor of Empanadas With These Three Simple Cooking Tips
- Don’t Rush Your Dough
- Let Your Filling Rest
- Use Egg Wash as a Sealant
As written on About.com’s South American Food, the worst thing you can do for your empanadas is rush the dough. You can’t just toss the ingredients together for the dough and immediately transform it into perfect little puffs of flavor. You first need to let the dough chill and rest overnight. This step is crucial, as it makes the dough more elastic and more likely to hold up when cooked.
Similarly, not letting your filling rest is a surefire way to wind up with a watery, paste-like empanada. The budget foodie website Cheap Food Here suggests setting your filling in a fine sieve for an hour. Gravity will push enough liquid into the filling to keep it moist when cooked, while simultaneously removing the excess liquid that will very quickly ruin the flavor and texture of your dish.
If you’ve attempted empanadas before, you know that an egg wash is essential to giving the dough that perfectly golden shell that the best empanadas have. What you might not know is that this same mixture of egg yolk and water is equally crucial to keeping your empanadas together. The egg wash serves as a powerful food glue when spread along the edges of the dough before folding it shut. It won’t do much against a super wet filling — making it even more important to let your filling rest — but it will otherwise keep your empanada shut as it cooks.
Do you consider yourself an expert when it comes to making Hispanic food? What do you think are the most important parts of making the best empanadas? Let us know in the comments below.