Monday, March 31, 2008

stuff it

I loved pizza pockets as a kid. It was one of the few junk foods I would eat and now, as an adult food snob I still have desires that need to be filled. A stuffed pastry is a whole meal in hand and a food craving fulfilled. Now, my desire runs from savory to sweet, and the beauty of making these encased meals they can be made, and frozen – therefore waiting my next hankering that needs satisfaction.

The versatility of this preparation can be found around the globe – the Indians have samosa; in Latin America you will find empanadas; the Brits having been serving up meat pies long before Sweeney Todd’s fame, and in Asia Minor phyllo is the wrapper for many an item.

I have a basic dough I use that is easy to make, and has great mouth feel. What you fill them with becomes your fancy…..







Potato and Saffron Turnover with Tamarind Chutney – yields approx 12
for the filling:
1-1/4 pounds Russet Potatoes
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 onion - finely diced
1-cup peas - fresh or frozen (if frozen thaw before using)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (peeled)
1 Asian green chili - seeds removed and diced fine
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stem and root
3 tablespoons water
Salt to taste
1-teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch saffron
1-tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin seeds
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

Vegetable for frying

Make the stuffing: Boil the potatoes in their jackets until tender when pierced with a knife. Cool and then discard the potato skins and roughly mash the potatoes.

Heat a sauté pan and add the 1/4-cup of vegetable oil. Add the onions and cook until the onions are lightly browned then add in the peas, ginger, green chili, cilantro and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and lower heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes until the peas are tender. Add in the salt, coriander, saffron, curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and mix in thoroughly and cook for a few minutes. Add the onion/pea mixture into the mashed potatoes to completely incorporate. Taste and correct seasoning. Allow the filling to cool.


To make the dough:
1-1/2 cups pastry flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter – cut into small pieces and chilled
1-cup sour cream

Sift he flour, and salt together. Place the flour mixture in the bowl of a food process fitted with the steel blade. With the machine running quickly drop in the pieces of butter until the mixture resembles a rough meal. With an on/off pulse add the sour cream and continue until the dough just pulls together. Divide the dough in half, and flatten each half into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight.

On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter or a wide mouth glass cut out rounds of the dough. Place a tablespoon of potato filling in the center of each round, and then brush the edges of the dough with the egg/cream mixture. Fold the disks in half to form a half moon shape, use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges of the turnovers.

Tamarind Chutney yields approx. 1-1/2 cups
1/2 cup tamarind paste – soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 minutes
1/4-cup rice vinegar
1/4-cup golden raisins
1-tablespoon tomato paste
1 to 2 red Asian chilies (seeds removed to lower heat)
1/4-cup cilantro
3 scallions – green tops only
1-teaspoon salt

Push the tamarind and water thorough a fine meshed sieve. The objective is to collect the sour pulp and discard any seed and fibrous material.

Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. If too thick thin the chutney out with some extra water.


Guava filled Empanadas – yields approx. 12

3 cups pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter – cut into small pieces and chilled
1 cup sour cream
1/4 pound cream cheese
1/ 1/2 cups guava paste or jam
2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon cream

Sift he flour, salt, and sugar together. Place the flour mixture in the bowl of a food process fitted with the steel blade. With the machine running quickly drop in the pieces of butter until the mixture resembles a rough meal. With an on/off pulse add the sour cream and continue until the dough just pulls together. Divide the dough in half, and flatten each half into a 1 inch thick disk. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight.

On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter or a wide mouth glass cut out rounds of the dough. Place a tablespoon of guava paste and cream cheese in the center of each round, and then brush the edges of the dough with the egg/cream mixture. Fold the disks in half to form a half moon shape, use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges of the empanadas.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the empanadas on a lightly oiled baking tray, and brush them with the remaining egg/cream mixture. Sprinkle each empanada with some additional sugar. Place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve warm or room temperature.

1 comment:

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