Monday, July 27, 2009

Fig and Walnut Empanadas

I served these little empanadas at my going away party. I had one with the first guests, and went back a while later for a second. They were gone! There were some requests for the recipe, so here (to the best of my recollection) it is.

Fig and Walnut Empanadas:

  • About 20 dried figs, diced (If there are hard stem bits, trim those off first)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil or butter for frying onions

For empanadas:
  • 10 empanada discs, defrosted
  • Oil for frying
  • Confectioners sugar for garnish

Making the filling:
  1. Saute diced onion in a small saucepan until softened and translucent. If you like, keep cooking them until they begin to brown a little.
  2. Add chopped figs and apple juice.
  3. Bring to a boil. Then lower heat and allow to simmer until figs are softened, at least 20 minutes. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a little water to allow figs to continue to soften.
  4. When figs are soft, allow the mixture to reduce until it is very thick and a little syrupy. Remove it from the heat.
  5. Toast your walnuts in a pan on medium heat until you can smell them first, but don't burn them! Add the chopped walnuts to the fig and onion mixture.
  6. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Filling the empanadas:

  1. Get out your empanada discs. Take the first disc.
  2. Cut it into 2 equal halves.
  3. Place 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling into the middle of each half.
  4. Take the two corners of one half and pinch them together.
  5. Pinch around the edges firmly, carefully pressing air out and making sure the empanada is securely sealed. Some people use a fork to seal the edges and make them pretty, but I usually end up poking holes in the dough with the fork tines.
  6. Repeat this process, laying your assembled empanadas on a plate, but not touching each other.

Fry your empanadas:
  1. Put enough oil in your pot to come up about 1 1/2 inches.
  2. Heat the oil on medium heat until small bubbles come up when you place a wooden implement (like a spoon handle) into the oil.
  3. Drop in an empanada. If it doesn't immediately start bubbling gently, your oil is not hot enough. Wait another minute to put in the others. Fry as many as you can fir with a little room to flip.
  4. Cook on one side until golden brown. Flip, fry on the other side until golden brown.
  5. Remove finished empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off some of the oil.
  6. Place your empanadas on a serving plate. Using a strainer or sifter, sprinkle a light coating of powdered sugar over the top of the empanadas.
  7. Serve warm!

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