I have shown you empanada before, for this Daring Bakers challenge. I didn’t want to miss the chance of showing you my favorite savory version: bacalao con pasas (cod with raisins).
This flavor was quite new to me until a couple of years ago, that I entered in one of my favorite pastelerías (which means pastry shop) in Madrid (yes, sorry, a lot of favorites). It was after work, and I used to like to pick up something and eat it at home on fridays. I did not know what to take that day. I wandered around for a few minutes and then, I was in front of empanadas and I spotted this flavor!
Bacalao con pasas. It sounded just delicious. Bacalao (cod) in Spain is related with saltiness because it is commonly cured in salt to preserve it. Pasas (raisins) are just the opposite. I also spotted a lot (a lot) of poached onion. That was it, my choice was made.
And I was right, I loved it. Sometime ago, I decided I missed this empanada and I should try to make it at home, here in The Netherlands. I was so stressed making my portfolio for presenting it that I decided to make something that will last the whole weekend and that it was filling and healthy. Empanada!
It really surprised me because I actually remembered the resultant flavor as the original one. I told my father that I was making and he got jealous (he loves empanadas), so I decided to freeze half of the batch (both dough and bacalao filling) until his visit, a week after. He liked it a lot too. So here I am, sharing it with you too!
Empanada de bacalao y pasas
Ingredients for the filling (for the pictured empanada I used half of this resultant filling)
- 500 gr Bacalao / salt cured cod
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- Half a green pepper, finely chopped
- Raisins to taste, around 3/4 cup (I used golden, but black is the common variety in Spain)
- Quarter a red bell pepper, finely chopped
1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, when it is warm, add:
2. The onions and poached them until they are very soft
3. Add raisins, let them cook for some minutes, until they are sof too.
4. Add peppers and let them cook until soft.
5. Add bacalao until it is cook and the mixture looks soft and smooth again.
6. Drain (and keep!!) the juices, and leave it to cool and reserve it for latter.
7. Make the dough. I really liked this recipe for the daring bakers challenge.
( I used just HALF of the quantities below, I froze the other half for a future occasion )
5-1/3 cups (1280 ml) (750 gm) bread flour
2 cups (480 ml) of lukewarm water (about 85°F/30oC),
approximately 1 satchel (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (11 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) of resultant juices from the cooked filling (this makes the perfect dough taste!!)
1 large egg, for egg wash
1. Measure out all the ingredients.
2. Shift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers.
3. In a small bowl, mix the water and the salt.
4. Now, using your fingers or a wooden spoon, start adding the water and mixing it with the flour-yeast mixture. Keep on working with your fingers or spoon until you have added enough water and all the flour has been incorporated and you have a messy ball of dough.
5. On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes
6. You could do all the above using a stand mixer, in that case mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until mixed and then switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 6 minutes.
7. Clean and oil the big bowl you used for mixing and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover it with a napkin or piece of linen and keep it in a warm, draught-free place for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.
8. Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
9. Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.
10. Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.
Assemble the empanada
1. If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray.
2. Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough.
3. Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Using a hot filling will make the bottom layer of the empanada become soggy. Be careful to avoid adding too much oil from the filling, try to make it as “dry” as possible.
4. Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F/180oC/gas mark 4.
5. Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling.
6. If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
7. Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. As a picture is worth a thousand words, please watch this video to see how it is done: http://youtu.be/CNpB7HkTdDk
8. When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.
9. You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada, using rounds, bows, lines… let your imagination flow and make it pretty!
10. Using a fork, prick the top layer or, using scissors, make snips that go all the way through the layers.
11. In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.
12. Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.