Empanadas de palmito

08 August 2016 - 10:02 By Sunday Times Food Weekly

In celebration of the Olympics in Rio we share some typical dishes found in Brazil. Empanadas are small pies filled with a savoury filling of hearts of palm. They are also called empadinhas. Pastry600g (5 cups) flour5ml (1 tsp) salt300g butter, cut into blocks3 egg yolks plus extra yolk lightly beaten for brushing200ml waterFilling40g butterOlive oil1 large onion, chopped finely1 garlic clove, chopped finely2 jars or cans of hearts of palm, drained and thinly sliced (other popular fillings are chicken coxinhas and chicken mixed with palmito)30ml (2 tbsp) tomato sauce1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in a little water15ml (1 tbsp) cornflour375ml (1 cups) milk30ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped parsleyLarge handful frozen peas250ml (1 cup) pitted green olives, finely slicedSalt and black pepperPut the flour and salt into a large bowl and add the butter. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Lightly beat the egg yolks and water together and add, a little at a time, to the flour and butter mix. Mix well until the pastry just holds together. The pastry should be crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge, lightly dust a worktop with flour and roll out the pastry into thickish rounds. Grease muffin pans and line with pastry. With remaining pastry, cut tops for the pies.For the filling, heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan and when they begin to brown add the onion and garlic and fry till fragrant. Mix in palm heart slices, tomato sauce, stock cube and cornflour dissolved in the milk. Stirring constantly, cook until it boils and thickens. Season to taste and if necessary add a pinch of sugar. Fold in the parsley, frozen peas, and olives and allow to cool. Fill the muffin pans with 1-2 tablespoons of filling. Brush pastry edges with water and top with pastry lid, pressing down to seal. Prick with a fork and bake at 190°C for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 36.

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