Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Argentine Empanada Dough

from Viking Home Chefs

This recipe makes 12 (5 inch) shells. The empanada filling makes enough for 24 shells so plan accordingly.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, frozen, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 stick chilled unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water*

1. place the flour and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment. Pulse a few times to combine. Remove the top of the processor and scatter the pieces of shortening and butter over the flour mixture. Being very careful to avoid the blade of the processor, use a fork to toss the cubes to coat them lightly with the flour mixture. Replace the top of the processor and pulse 12 to 15 times, holding each pulse for one second. The mixture should resemble a coarse meal with some pea-size butter lumps.

2. Add 1/3 cup water and pulse 2 to 3 times. Pinch a small amount of the dough with your fingers to see that it holds together. If the dough does not hold together, add more water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until incorporated; then test the mixture again. (Note: the mixture will be in particles and will not hold together without being pressed together)

3. Turn the dough out onto a silicone mat, and divide into two equal portions. Place half of the dough mixture on a large square of plastic wrap; pull up the sides of the plastic wrap and twist, forcing the dough together. With the heels of your hands press the mixture together until the dough forms one piece. Flatten into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap; repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate the dough disks until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

4. Before rolling out, remove the disks from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to soften.

* Add ice to a measuring cup of water, and set aside. When you are ready to add water to the recipe, strain and measure the amount needed.

Make It Ahead: The dough can be tightly covered with plastic wrap, placed in a freezer ziplock bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough completely in the fridge overnight. Never defrost pie dough in a microwave.

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