Empanadas originated from Galicia, Spain. It was then introduced to the Philippines by it’s Spanish colonists. Filipino empanadas can either have a sweet or savory filling. It is usually shaped like a half moon with edges that are crimped, scalloped or fluted. There are different varieties of empanadas found in the country depending on the region you are in. There is the panara of Silay in Negros made from rice flour; the Ilocos empanada which comes in two forms, the Vigan (uncolored, uses garlicky Vigan longanisa and served with Ilocos vinegar) and Batac empanada (the dough colored with annatto, uses Batac longanisa and served with ketchup and Ilocos vinegar) and empanaditas in Pampanga are smaller empanadas usually sweet filled with caramel and cashew nuts or condensed milk, cashew nuts and egg yolks cooked over a double boiler. (Source – Panaderia: Philippine Bread, Biscuit and Bakery Tradition by Amy A. Uy and Jenny B. Orillos)
The recipe I used was adapted from the book “Memories of A Philippine Kitchen” by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan. Ground beef is a favorite and most popular filling used by Filipinos. It is usually sauteed with onions, potatoes, carrots and raisins. I omitted raisins in my recipe since my family is not a fan of it being added to meat or any kind of savory dish.
To make, double the recipe of Rich Pie Pastry below. You will need a lot of dough from my experience.
Sift 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp. salt into a large bowl. Cut 6 Tbsp. chilled butter into the flour using your fingertips or pastry cutter or blender until texture resembles coarse meal with visible bits of butter. Stir 1 large egg beaten into the flour mixture and stir until incorporated. Pinch off a small handful of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, add ice water 1/2 tsp. at a time. stirring after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
For the filling, In a pan, saute one medium sized minced onion and 3-4 cloves minced garlic in about 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Then add 1 lb ground beef. Stir and cook until browned. Remove excess oil or fat if necessary. Add one medium sized diced carrot and 1 medium sized diced potato and about 1/3 cup frozen peas. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste and about 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground black pepper. Continue cooking until vegetables have softened. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Let cool and set aside.
To assemble, roll out your dough on a clean work surface that is lightly floured. Using a 4 inch round cookie cutter or a big enough straight edged glass cut the dough into circles. Save the scraps and you can reroll this again later.
Spoon your cooled filling onto the small discs of dough, fold in half and gently enclosed the meat filling by crimping the edges using the tines of a fork. Do this until you used up all your dough and filling. Place your filled dough onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of your empanada with an egg wash (2 egg yolks beaten with 1/4 cup milk).
Bake in a 375 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. P.S. Bake empanadas on the the upper and lower thirds of oven. Switch the sheets or tray from top to bottom rack halfway through baking.