Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spicy Pear Empanadas

In my wine class last week, we were covering the wines of Argentina and Chile. I always like to make something typical of the region, like the red cabbage for Germany. Looking around, I found pear empanadas were considered a typical dessert for Chile. My recipe is based off of this one I found on about.com. The cheesy, salty pastry contrasts nicely with the sweet, spicy filling. I made a double batch, getting twenty seven empanadas, so figure 12 to 14 from one batch. It went really well with the Chilean whites, especially a Carmenere and a Torrontes.

Spicy Pear Empanada

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated aged cotija cheese
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
12 tsp. butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
up to  1/3 cup ice water

6 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 small lime, cut in half
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream

to make pastry:
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, cheese, salt, and butter. Pulse several times, processing until flour mix resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and two teaspoons water. Pulse several times. Add water, one teaspoon at a time, pulsing several times bettweeen each, until dough just starts to come together. Remove from processor, form into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap, refridgerate for at least one hour.

To make filling:
Place all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated, and pears are tender. Remove from heat, remove lime halves and cloves, and stir in vanilla. Let cool.

To make empanadas:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together egg yolk and cream to makre glaze.

Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll out dough to under 1/4 inch thickness. If dough is too crumbly to work, dampen and fold a few times. Cut into 3 inch rounds. Place 1 tsp. of filling on each round. dampen edges, fold and press to seal. Use a fork to press the edges.  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and brush with glaze. Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.

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