|CHILLI TUNA & EGG EMPANADA IN CORNMEAL DOUGH|
Patri's recipes and instructions were certainly helpful, as were her filling suggestions. But most importantly, I learnt from her that empanadas aren't formed only as individual hand pies, as I thought, but can also be made family-size!
For a slide show of some of the empanadas made by the Daring Bakers, go to the homepage of The Daring Kitchen.
I was very curious about the cornmeal dough that Patri provided, especially after I saw the picture she posted. She had cautioned that the dough is difficult to spread and you need a little patience rolling it out. The dough doesn't come together like a yeasted bread dough. It's grainy and reminds me of a sandy cookie dough. However, it is soft and does rise.
I have no idea if the dough turned out the way it was supposed to but this is how I would describe it: after it bakes, it is slightly crumbly and similar to a buttery shortcrust pastry. Perhaps the picture above shows what I mean. The taste is good. Patri recommends a filling of fish or seafood for this dough and I can see why. Because the dough is biscuity, it works better with a delicate filling. However, I think the empanada has to be served immediately – once the base gets soggy, it is no longer as delightful.
I chose tuna and egg as the filling. I don't know if it's available elsewhere, but here in Malaysia, we have a tinned tuna in oil that is already mixed with herbs and spices and has two or three little bird's eye chillies in the tin as well! I didn't have to do anything else but cook a hard-boiled egg, which is put in the centre of the tuna in the empanada case.
I made only half the dough, enough for two small individual empanadas. I also tweaked the recipe slightly. As cornmeal is low-gluten, I added some wheat gluten to the dough.
|The chilli tuna comes with a few bird's eye chillies in the tin!|
Chilli Tuna & Egg Empanada
1 tin (250g) chilli tuna
1 hard-boiled egg, halved
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 egg, beaten (optional)
50g all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tsp wheat gluten
½ tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
125ml warm water + extra
60g butter, softened
Combine the corn meal, all-purpose flour, wheat gluten and salt together in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Stir in the dry yeast. Make a well in the middle and add the water; stir well to moisten all the dry ingredients. If there are stll dry bits of flour, add extra water, a few drops at a time, so that everything is moistened. Form into a rough ball and set aside for 5 minutes.
Spread the butter on the dough, and then knead it into the dough. Place dough on the work surface and keep on kneading until you have a soft dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. Form a ball and return to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Divide the dough into 4 portions. Lightly oil 2 (8m) deep pie tins. Pat a portion of dough out with your hands to fit a pie tin. This dough is very difficult to spread, so push it gently against the base and sides to thinly cover the inside. Do the same with another portion of dough.
Fill the empanada with half the chilli tuna and embed half a hard-boiled egg in the centre.
Pat out the other two pieces of dough thinly to form lids for the pies. Press the edges together to seal. Use leftover dough to make a design on the top. Cut an 'X' in the centre of the lid. Brush with egg wash if desired and bake until the bottom is cooked and the top is golden, 20-25 minutes.