Cooking, Food

Empanadas and Bunuelos

When I did the speech for Central American Food, I took treats in for my classmates. A sweet and a savoury, both were things that could easily be street fare, and could be eaten out of hand. They went over very well, and I thought it was worth the effort in making them. Left to my own devices I would do one at a time, not both together, which made it feel like a marathon of cooking happened that day.

Bunuelos

You can find the recipe I used here, and I will say that even drying overnight didn’t keep some of them from puffing up like little beachballs. Tasty – and the First Reader was delighted to be told that any which weren’t flat he was allowed to eat – but not what I wanted for the presentation. Fortunately, I got enough of the flats to take with me. There are several kinds of bunuelos. I suspect this sort was born from wanting to do something with stale tortilla dough that would be a sweet treat. It reminded me of what we used to do with leftover bits of pie dough. They are crunchy and very good.

This is the second recipe I have run across recently that called for boiling the liquid ingredients. This isn't a yeast dough, where temperature matters, so I wonder if this harks back to the day when boiling milk was a safety matter.
This is the second recipe I have run across recently that called for boiling the liquid ingredients. This isn’t a yeast dough, where temperature matters, so I wonder if this harks back to the day when boiling milk was a safety matter.
Bunuelos
Cinnamon and sugar on the outside while still warm from the hot oil is the only sweetening. Some recipes call for being drizzled in syrup, instead.
bunuelos
The puffy ones were really flaky, the flat ones had more crunch to them.

Empanadas

I used the filling recipe that is found at here, Choriqueso Empanadas, but the dough was another matter. I might have a local shop that sells empanada wrappers, but I haven’t found it yet.

empanada filling
Cheese and chorizo filling – delicious. And by keeping them separate I could drain the sausage and keep them less greasy.

The empanada dough recipe I used was a lot like pasta dough, and I put it together in the food processor, wanting to activate the gluten strongly, then refrigerated it to keep that process going. This made about twice the dough I needed for the empanadas, and I realized too late that it would have also worked nicely for the bunuelos. Oh, well, next time!

In the food processor:

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • I stick of butter, cut into small pieces (and frozen, would be ideal. But chilled, at least)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pulse the food processor until the butter is well incorporated into the flour. Then, with the processor on, break the egg into the open pour hole. Pulse a few times to break up any clumping. Put the processor back on and add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time until a very thick dough forms with only a few loose crumbs. Shut the processor off and turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the crumbs in and until the dough is a cohesive ball. Wrap in saran wrap or a damp cloth and refrigerate.

I took this rest time to begin making the bunuelos.

empanadas
I used a cup to create the circles, and I made these very small, as they were going to be essentially party food. You would usually make them bigger. The darker dough at the back is the bunuelo dough drying.
empanadas
Deep fried tastiness. So spicy, rich, and yummy. It was hard not to eat them all up.

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