h1

A second impression. (RICOTTA + FIG EMPANADAS)

April 16, 2011

Here’s the thing about empanadas, you can stuff just about anything you can imagine in there. Traditional fillings include beef, chicken, cheese, tuna, guava, spinach, etc. Though empanadas seem like a big project to undertake, if you cheat a little and buy the dough circles  pre-made*, they are quick and easy to the point where I actually made them for breakfast and believe me, I am not good for much in the morning. Truth be told, I made the fig jam the night before. Even better.

If you happen upon a set of flavors that sounds especially good, with a little engineering, it can usually serve as perfectly great filling. In the first run of this sweet, slightly savory combo of homemade ‘fig jam’ with rosemary and ricotta, my oversight was that I didn’t mix the fruit and the cheese together. It was as if they were divorced. The empanada was filled on one side was straight fig puree and the other was rather bland and plain soft cheese. There was potential but no real pow.

On the second try I reconciled the two sides, stirring them together in a bowl, adding some lemon rind and salt to brighten up the day. Not only did it save a step in assembly, it worked out great. Inside the crisp empanada lived a creamy, tart-sweet epicenter, a way better result than the first. We couldn’t keep our hands off of them, the true test of an empanada’s success.

After including the new tweaks, I added  an extra step to the recipe. A direction I would like to use in all of my recipes at various points; ‘Taste it!’ It is unbelievable how often people fail to taste something as they are making it. By tasting often, the cook remains in complete control of where a dish is going…. and, most importantly, how it arrives.

FIG and ROSEMARY EMPANADA with RICOTTA CHEESE

(makes 20 empanadas)

for Fig and Rosemary Quick Jam:

10 ounces dried black mission figs (about 2 cups), stems removed

3 tablespoons sugar

3 sprigs rosemary

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Place figs, sugar,  rosemary sprigs and 1.5 cups of water in saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated and figs are easily pierced with/ a knife, 20-30 minutes. Remove rosemary stems.
  • Transfer mixture to a food processor, add lemon juice and puree until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup additional water to thin if needed. The final product should be like a thick spread. Store in the fridge up to one month.

for Empanadas:

20 empanada dough discs or 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese

1 recipe Fig Rosemary Quick Jam

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup flour

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a bowl, combine the cooled fig jam with the ricotta, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Taste it! Adjust.
  • Lay a dough disc on a lightly floured surface. (If using puff pastry, roll out the dough a little and punch 10 four inch circles from each sheet). 
  • Brush half of a disc with beaten egg.
  • On the other half of the disc, spoon two heaping tablespoons of fig/ricotta mixture.
  • Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the dough to make a scalloped edge. Alternatively, seal the edge with the tines of a fork. 
  • Place the empanada on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.

* Discos are found in the freezer section.

They didn’t last until lunch… that’s what I’m talking about.

One comment

  1. I love that filling and I ALWAYS have fig jam on hand.:)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: