Empanada Dough (for baking)

This is a modification of traditional empanada dough, which typically contains milk and is a bit leaner. This is a more all-purpose recipe, making it ideal for both empanadas and North American-style hand pies, including homemade “pop tarts” – use a couple of squares of chocolate or a favorite jam instead of a savory filling, seal & bake as usual. This recipe should not be used for fried empanadas.

15 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
1 egg, cold, beaten
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Food Processor Method:
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor for 10-15 seconds. Add the butter and pulse to combine, 10-12 times. The mixture should look like coarse meal, with some pea-sized butter pieces still visible. Add the egg and 4 tablespoons of ice water, then pulse on and off until a clumpy dough just forms. Add remaining water if the mixture is too dry.

Hand-mixing Method:
Stir the flour and salt together in a medium bowl; add the butter. Rub the mixture together using your fingertips and thumb, or use a pastry blender. Be patient! Continue until the mixture looks like coarse meal, with some pea-sized butter pieces still visible. Add the egg and 4 tablespoons of ice water, then stir lightly with a fork until well combined. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Gently squeeze some dough in your fist, then release – if it holds together in a clump, it’s ready.

Both Methods:
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form a ball, flatten slightly, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling out.

On a well-floured surface with a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch or less. It should be quite thin, but not to the point of ripping. Use a cutter or overturned small bowl to cut rounds in the size of your choice. A 4-inch diameter makes great snacks and appetizers, and a 6-inch diameter makes a nice entrée size. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Yield: About 1 ½ pounds, enough for about 30 4-inch or about 20 6-inch empanadas

Tips & Tricks: For extra ease when mixing by hand, freeze uncut butter for 30 minutes, then grate on the large holes of a cheese grater and add immediately to the flour & salt. Proceed with the remaining mixing steps. The dough may be frozen, wrapped well in plastic wrap, then sealed in a plastic freezer bag. Defrost in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours before using.

Adapted from Layla Pujol of Laylita.com