Need a summer project for your kids?
Teach them to make empanadas!
With Sandra A. Gutierrez’ Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America (Abrams 2015) they’ll learn about various kinds of dough, fillings, folding techniques and a good bit of Spanish. The book is full of empanadas with savory and sweet fillings. Next fall, they can make their own empanadas for school, for your cocktail party, or for dinner as long as you help with the fryer.
Who knows where this versatile little pie will lead them?
The section on “Empanada Kitchen & Pantry” includes handy descriptions of everything they will need, as well as good photos by Tina Rupp that feature different kinds of chilis and other ingredients that will help kids choose ingredients at the market. Next, it is time to master different empanada doughs. Sandra recommends using a tortilla press to get perfect round circles rather than fiddling with a rolling pin. She demonstrates the different crimping techniques to make different shapes from doughs like Saltña Dough, Bread Dough and Flaky Dough. There are three corn based doughs, Masa Dough (p. 24), Cornmeal Dough (p. 26), and Cornmeal and Cassava Dough (p. 27. Next come fillings. Chapter Two is on Vegetable, Nut & Cheese Empanadas like Venezuelan Black Bean and Cheese “Domino” Pies (p. 52) and Ecuadorian Light-As-Air Onion and Cheese Pies (p. 61) with grated queso fresco.
There are plenty of recipes with pork and beef in the following chapter, like Famous Beef, Raisin and Olive Hand Pies (p. 68) from Chile and Golden and Juicy Beef and Potato Pies (p. 72) from Bolivia, which might be a bit tricky to eat at school. The Beef and Dried Chile Masa Pies (p. 78) from Mexico are full of shredded cooked flank steak – a great way to use up leftovers. The rest of the book includes poultry, seafood, and sweet dessert empanadas including baked Guava and Cream Cheese Pastries (p. 154) from Brazil that could be a stand in for Pop Tarts – and a whole lot better.
Sandra Gutierrez’s Empanadas is a great book to share with kids. Get a map of South America out and make empanadas from each country. Teach them the names of all the ingredients, and soon they’ll be turning out empanadas that are delicioso.