Last year around Christmas I went to visit my friend Natalia and stay with her family. Her family is from Chile and her mom was nice enough to show us how to make delicious gooey cheese empanadas.
This year I visited them again and we all made cheese empanadas again (yum!). Natalia's mom said that she wasn't completely happy with how the empanadas turned out last time so now I'm updating this post with all the improvements. The empanadas were good last year but this year they were insanely tasty. Too delicious for their own good.
The first change is to the amount of lard that goes into the dough. Maggie said the dough was too flaky last time and that they turn out much better with 200 Ml of lard. Its sort of an awkward cup measurement so its best to go by the little ruler they put on the box.
The next change is more cheese. I think we can all agree that more cheese is almost always better than less cheese.
So after rolling out the dough and cutting it into circles (we used an upside down snack bowl) pack a bunch of grated mozzarella onto it leaving room along the edge for sealing. Then dip your finger into a bowl of water, wet the edge, fold the dough in half and press to seal.
Use a fork to really seal the edges so that the dough doesn't come open in the hot oil.
Then fry them in batches in oil that has a bit of lard added to it until they are crispy and golden like this.
More cheese is an excellent improvement.
You can eat them while they are hot and gooey, or (if any are left) you can re-heat them a few seconds at a time in the microwave.
Thanks again Maggie for making Empanadas with us! I can't wait to visit again and eat and eat and eat.
Maggie's Cheese Empanadas
5 cups flour
200Ml from a package of Tenderflake (lard)
1 tsp salt
grated mozzarella (about 4 cups)
A bowl of very warm water
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt
2. cut the lard into small pieces and work into the flour by squeezing and mixing with your hands
3. Take 2 cups from your bowl of warm water and mix it into the flour until it makes a dough. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until it becomes smooth
4. Roll out a section of the dough (keep the rest covered in plastic) to about a 1/4 inch thickness or slightly thinner. Cut out empanada rounds with a large biscuit cutter
5. Fill each round with a few Tbsp grated mozza, run a wet finger around the edge of the dough, fold it in half and press the edges to seal them. Using a fork, press around the edge firmly to completely seal the empanada
6. Heat a large pot with vegetable oil and the other half of the package of lard on medium high heat. The oil is ready when a ball of empanada dough fries golden brown within a few minutes of being dropped in
7. Fry the empanadas in batches, turning to ensure that they get golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel
Tips: The dough can be frozen in pieces or in rounds and the un-fried empanadas can be frozen as well to fry later.