Many moons ago, I first tasted the empanada of El Gusto Restaurant on Claro M. Recto Street, I knew I had to come up with a recipe just like it. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I would crave their meat pies and would ask the messenger to get some – it was that good. But they must have changed cooks because only the crust remains the same. It is sad when a good product becomes popular, and then something happens to make it inferior. For most things, quality is still the best standard.
Empanada is good for merienda (afternoon snack) or as a light meal. During my catering days, I accepted an order of 1,000 pieces of these, and my staff and I worked through the day and night to ready them for delivery. Never again!
Below is a recipe for 25 pieces only. Enjoy!
Empanada (Individual Meat or Chicken Pies)
Baked individual pies of sweet pastry filled with minced meat, potatoes, and vegetables that are perfect for afternoon snacks (merienda) or a light meal.
- Meat Filling
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 1 medium onion (125 grams), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 500 grams ground meat - chicken, pork, or beef. You can do a blend of 250 grams each ground pork and beef or pork and chicken. It's completely up to you.
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 125 grams potatoes – cut into 1/4-inch cubes and slightly pan fried
- Pie Pastry
- 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar - you can lessen this
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup shortening
Make the meat filling
In a medium sized pan, placed over medium-low fire, sauté garlic and onions in oil until onions are transparent and garlic slightly browned.
Add the ground meat, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and raisins.
Cook until meat is browned but not dry; turning the meat often till this is done.
Add pan-fried potato cubes then reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally until mixture is dry.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Prepare the Empanada crust:
In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt.
Make a well in the center of flour mixture (push mixture up sides of bowl), and pour sour cream and shortening into the well.
With a pastry blender, or fork and knife, cut sour cream and shortening into flour until particles are the size of peas.
Using your hands, shape dough into a ball and knead until smooth.
Divide dough into four pieces.
Take one piece of dough and cover the rest with plastic wrap or a hand towel, until ready to use.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8-inch thick.
Cut out 4-inch (for small pies) or 5-inch (for bigger pies) diameter circles, using a cardboard pattern or a saucer as a guide.
Put the Empanada together:
Preheat your oven to 180ºC or 350ºF then proceed to make the pies.
For each set of cut pastry, begin to fill them.
Divide the meat mixture into 25 equal portions. You can weigh the lot and divide accordingly.
Place a portion on one side of the rolled out crust.
Brush around edge of crust with a mixture of 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water, lightly beaten.
Fold over the crust to make a half moon.
Roll the edges, into tiny folds, all around to seal.
Brush with egg white mixture or milk, to give it a nice gloss when baked.
Arrange the pies on a greased and floured baking sheet or line the baking sheet with baking paper.
Leave 1-inch space between pies.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pies are a light golden brown.
Let cool before serving.
You can choose the prepare the empanadas for future baking. After filling and sealing the pies, don't brush it with egg or milk. Arrange the pies on a tray with spaces in between and freeze them for an hour or two. When completely frozen, you can transfer the pies to a zip bag and keep in the freezer for up to a month. When you want to have your empanada, take a few out, thaw, brush with milk, then bake for 20 minutes.