Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mini Chocolate Empanadas

It was a tough week. It started on Sunday with a difficult evening on the personal front, then it evolved into a long work week. (Because we can't let personal issues get in the way of work, can we?) I'm not a chocoholic, so I'm not a person who keeps bags of Hershey's Kisses around for emotional emergencies. Still, I'd been thinking for a while about experimenting with an idea I'd had for chocolate empanadas, and even I am not immune to the power of chocolate. So, it seemed as good a time as any to give it a go.

Mini Chocolate Empanadas

Chocolate Empanadas?

How did I get this idea? It started when I took a baking class from Lisa Donovan, the pastry chef for Husk Nashville (and former pastry chef for City House and Margot). Lisa has a side project called Buttermilk Road, where she puts on pop-up dinners and baking classes, among other things. I'd had her buttermilk pie at Husk, and I was won over immediately. There's a lot of bad pie in the world, but this simple homey example was a wonder of golden flaky crust and a tasty filling that was a cross between a custard and a chess pie. I jumped at the chance to take her class, where we learned how to make her pie crust, the buttermilk pie, and her wonderful biscuits.

Lisa typically makes 10-inch pies for the restaurant. Thus, the crust recipe made more dough than was needed for the pie plates in most home kitchens. I rolled out the leftover crust and cut it into circles using a drinking glass, which gave me six 3 1/2" rounds. I wrapped them well and stuck them in the freezer for future use. I thought about a fruit filling, but was suddenly struck with the idea of chocolate. Today I put the idea to the test.  This isn't so much as a recipe as a method and variations, but I thought it worth sharing because it came out so well.

Mini Chocolate Empanadas

1 recipe of unsweetened pie crust dough*
1/2 oz to 3/4 oz finely chopped semisweet or dark chocolate for each empanada
table sugar, coarse sugar, or cinnamon sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 and very lightly grease a baking sheet. Roll out the dough and cut into 3" to 4" circles. Roll scraps and cut out additional circles if possible. Place the circles on the baking sheet, cover well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 20 minutes, up to overnight.

If the dough was refrigerated more than 20 minutes, allow to set out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so.  For each empanada, place the chocolate on one half of the dough circle, leaving 1/2" margin. Moisten the edge of the circle with water. Fold the circle in half to cover the chocolate to make a half-moon, and seal & crimp the edges with a fork. If desired, brush the top of the empanadas with water or milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the empanadas are golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

* If you don't want to make your own dough (and you should, but if not ...), use refrigerated dough such as Pillsbury, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store

Yes, it's not a fancy presentation ... would definitely look better with
a dollop of whipped cream or a little scoop of ice cream.


Lesley Eats said...

These could also be called chocolate hand pies. :)

TLF said...

heh. You know, I almost added that as an alternate name in the first paragraph, but got distracted and just never went back and did it. I think that would make this post waaaay too hipster, anyway. *grin*