Beef Empanadas

EmpanadasYields about 10-12 empanadas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup pimiento-filled green olives, sliced
3/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Several dashes hot sauce
2 large eggs, separated

1 Cream Cheese Pastry Dough (recipe follows)


  1. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the beef. Cook, stirring constantly to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for another minute.
  2. Stir in the olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook until the meat is golden brown and the liquid has evaporated, about 4 more minutes. Cool the mixture completely in the fridge. Stir in the egg whites.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. To form the empanadas, work with half of a disk of dough at a time, rolling out on a floured surface. Using an overturned bowl (about 5 inches across), cut out circles about 3 or 4 at a time from each piece of dough. Gather all dough scraps together, reroll once, and cut. Place 1/4 cup filling on one side of a dough circle. Wet the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough over to form a half circle. Pinch the edges of the dough together. Crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat the process until all the filling is used.  Note:  The empanadas can be frozen at this point.
  5. Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and chill for a few minutes. Prick each pie on top twice with a fork. When ready to bake, beat the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over each empanada. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Note:The empanadas can be cooled and frozen after this step too and  reheated in a microwave.

Cream Cheese Pastry Dough
Makes enough for 10-12 empanadas

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces
6 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
3 – 4 Tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and salt in a food processor, pulse to blend.  Add butter and cream cheese, pulse until pea-size clumps form.

With the machine running, add ice water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together when pressed between your fingers.  Divide dough into 2 pieces, and shape each piece into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

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