Empanadas are perfect for picnics or pop a couple of these creamy corn pasties in your lunchbox.
For the pastry, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the diced butter and lard and rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add cold water one teaspoon at a time, mixing between additions with a table knife, until the mixture comes together into a soft dough (the dough will take anything between 3-6 tbsp water). Roll the dough into a ball and wrap well in cling film, leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
For the béchamel, heat the milk in a pan with the onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, mace and parsley stalks. Once simmering, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain the milk into a jug, discarding the flavourings.
Melt the butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, constantly stirring. Remove from the heat, and gradually add the infused milk, stirring well after each addition. Return the sauce to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer the béchamel sauce for 2 minutes, and set aside.
For the sweetcorn filling, melt the butter in a frying pan and gently cook the spring onions. Add the green pepper, sweetcorn and enough of the béchamel sauce to bind everything together. Cook the mixture over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the parsley, parmesan, a pinch of chilli or cayenne powder, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To assemble the empanadas, remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out to pound coin thickness (3mm). Cut circles from the pastry using a saucer as a guide, or use a 12cm/4½in pastry cutter.
Put two teaspoons of filling onto one half of each pastry circle, it’s important not to overfill the empanadas at this stage. Wet the edges of the pastry with a little water, fold the non-filled half of the pastry over the filled half, and either crimp the edges together to seal or use a fork to mark the edges. Repeat with the remaining pastry circles.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the empanadas in batches until golden and cooked through. Add more oil between batches to prevent the empanadas from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle with caster sugar and serve warm.
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