Empanadas would make the ideal stranded-on-a-desert-island staple. They freeze well, are great for using up leftovers, and are as suited to the beginner as they are the expert. But best of all, they can be filled with just about anything, so they shouldn't be overlooked as both a convenient finger food and an unexpected dessert.Make the cleanup easier than ever for your next fiesta by serving up fried beef-and-egg empanadas to whet your guests' appetites — then creating a baked banana version to close out the night. There'll be no forks or spoons necessary! Want either (or both) recipes? Just read more.
3 cups sliced ripe bananas
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts Vanilla ice cream or powdered sugar, if desired
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine bananas, sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.
Unroll pie crusts onto a flat surface.
Using a ring mold, make circles in the dough. Put the banana mixture on the pie dough and place another round on top. Pinch around the edges of each section to seal. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and make slits in the top of each to allow steam to escape. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the empanadas on a platter. Serve with ice cream or sprinkle with powdered sugar, if using.
2 hard-boiled large eggs
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed (available at Latin grocers)
About 4 cups vegetable oil
Equipment: a deep-fry thermometer
Cut each egg crosswise into 10 thin slices.
Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.
Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.
Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk and top with 2 slices of egg. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make more empanadas in same manner.
Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.
Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.