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Lorena Garcia's Spinach and Goat Cheese Empanaditas

Spinach and Goat Cheese Empanaditas

Spinach and Goat Cheese Empanaditas

From the book, New Latin Classics by Lorena Garcia. Copyright © 2011 by Lorena Garcia. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lorena Garcia's Spinach and Goat Cheese Empanaditas

Ingredients

  1. FOR THE SPINACH FILLING
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    6 cups spinach leaves
    8 ounces fresh goat cheese (about 1 cup)
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    11/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  1. FOR THE EMPANADITA DOUGH
    41/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup vegetable shortening
    1 cup cold milk
    2 large eggs
    1 large egg yolk

Directions

  1. To make the filling, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet often, until they’re golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool.
  2. Place a large bowl of ice water on the counter. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Submerge the spinach leaves in the boiling water and immediately remove them and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the spinach leaves from the ice water and squeeze out as much water as you can. Place the blanched spinach in the bowl of a food processor and add the cooled pine nuts, the goat cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and process until smooth, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. To make the empanadita dough, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and, using a pastry blender or your hands, work it into the flour mixture until there are no pieces larger than a small pea. Whisk the milk with one of the eggs and the egg yolk and add it to the flour-shortening mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a dough ball forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Place a small bowl of water next to a lightly floured work surface. Whisk the remaining whole egg with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough into two pieces and place one piece on the floured work surface. Roll it out into a 1/4-inch-thick sheet. Use a 5-inch round cookie cutter to cut out as many dough circles as you can, keeping them close together to minimize the amount of dough scraps. Discard the scraps. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. You should end up with about 40 dough circles.
  7. Place one heaping tablespoon of the spinach filling in the center of each circle. Dip your finger or a pastry brush into the water and moisten the edge of the lower half of the circle. Fold the top half over the bottom half and press the edges together to seal. Crimp the edges using a fork and place the empanadita on a parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough circles and filling.
  8. Brush the tops of the empanaditas with the egg wash and bake the empanaditas until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
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