In my previous two posts on this topic I covered making the dough and the filling - now for the pastry shaping, assembly and cooking.
If the filling has been chilled take a spoon full - let warm to room temperature, test for seasoning. Adjust seasoning if and as necessary. I generally feel the need to add around a tbs of coarse salt. Gently reheat the filling to mix the seasonings in. The filling should be fairly stiff but it should hold together - if you find it's falling apart stir in a little more EVOO or lard.
If the dough has been chilled bring to room temperature or if frozen thaw in a refrigerator overnight then bring to room temperature. If you have a pasta machine use a lasagna die to make approx 12" strips of pastry. Moisten the edge of one strip and overlap another strip 1/4" or less and press together to make a strip around 4" wide.
If you are rolling by hand flour a work surface and roll to 1/8" thickness or less.
Empanadas are finger food so you can make them finger sized that will take two bites or fist sized so they will take more. They can be messy to eat with your fingers if they are too big. The ones I made for the Sunshine State Eggfest were two biters.
Two biters will require a 3 1/2" pastry cutter or wine glass. Cut out pastry circles. Save the trimmings for re rolling or recycling through the pasta machine. As you cut the circles set them out on a sheet of plastic wrap. A standard sized sheet will hold three abreast. Fold over the wrap and set the next three on top repeating until you need another sheet of plastic wrap. It keeps the pastry from sticking together should you be distracted or otherwise have to leave things for a while. You can also freeze them in this state - being careful to wrap everything well so no ends are exposed to air.
If you are rolling by hand you will need to cut the dough into manageable sized chunks that will depend on the size of your floured work surface but try cutting it into quarters.
With the dough used in this recipe (Part I) I made about 160 empanadas but you will make fewer if you roll the pastry by hand. The lasagna die on my pasta maker is about 1/32" thick so if you roll it to 1/8" you should have 40. That means you will have filling left over - so put it in the fridge and make some more pastry!
Set out the filling, the pastry circles, a small bowl of water along with the cut up butter, the chopped green olives and the chopped hardboiled eggs from Part II. Also set out trays with parchment paper inserts to hold the assembled empanadas. If you are planning to freeze the empanadas you can freeze them directly on the trays; just make sure they aren't touching.
Take a circle of pastry in your left hand (if you're right handed!) and scoop with a small cookie scoop a small walnut sized portion of filling. Spoons will work but it's easier with a cookie scoop. The filling sticks to the spoon. Place the filling in the centre of the pastry circle. Add a 1/2 tsp of olives and 1/2 tsp hardboiled eggs and top with a piece of butter. You are going to dip your finger in the water you set out and moisten the edge of the pastry circle. Fold it over into a half moon shape until the edges meet and press together with finger and thumb all along the seam. If you have trouble getting it to close over the filling adjust the scoop size accordintgly. If the seam is wide and closes easily add more filling next time. You can decorate the seam with fancy pinches, pleats or set it down and press a fork into the seam.
Place the empanadas on the tray and when it's full take to the freezer or to a 350F Egg set up with a pizza stone or if you don't have one you can use a platesetter legs down. If you are going to freeze them omit the hardboiled eggs.
Bake for 15- 17 minutes. Check the underside after about 10 minutes just to see they're not burning. in another 5 - 7 minutes they should be browning on top.
Serve with Chimichurri - and be careful they will be really hot on the inside. Chimichurri recipe in the next post.
If you think this all seems like a lot of work, I did 160 over two days in less than probably 6 hours total. For my own family that would keep me in emapanadas for several weeks - months. You could make fewer but frankly it doesn't take a lot longer to do a bunch and your friends will really like them.
If you have a friend who hates olives - don't tell them there are olives in them. Ok you can leave them out - they will still work.