Empanadas are Latin American version of pasties, which are popular all over South America. They come in lots of variations, baked and fried, sweet and savoury, meat or vegetarian. Peruvian empanadas are normally oven-baked, but our deep-fried Wensleydale cheese and caramelised onion empanada recipe is a fab vegetarian option. Wensleydale is a crumbly, slightly acidic cheese from Northern England which we think works really well in this recipe. If you can’t find it, you could try this recipe with ricotta.
Makes 8 empanadas
For the pastry:
500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
7 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of hot water
For the filling:
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of caster sugar
Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon butter
400g Wensleydale cheese, crumbled
Start by preparing the dough. In a large mixing bowl, pour the flour and baking powder and mix well. Then make a hole in the middle.
Dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Pour this, and the oil, into the hole you’ve made in the flour.
Mix well with a wooden spoon until combined. Then use your hands to knead well until the dough is smooth. Form the dough into a large ball, wrap in cling film and set to one side. It will need to rest for twenty minutes, so wait for ten minutes or so and then move on to the filling.
Take the onion and fry over a medium heat with the butter, stirring, until golden.
Add the vanilla essence and caster sugar, and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until the sugar has caramelised and turned a darker colour. Take off the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
Take the dough and separate into 8 pieces. Roll them into balls with your hands.
On a clean, flat worksurface, squash the balls with the palm of your hands and form discs around 10cm in diameter.
Split the filling equally and spoon into the centre of each disc of dough. Take a spoonful of the cheese, and place on top of the onion mixture on the discs.
Fold the dough, line up the edges and use a fork to close the sides firmly.
In a large, deep pan or deep-fat fryer, fry the empanadas over a medium heat (around 160-170c). It should take 5-6 minutes until they are golden-brown.
Serve with the salsa and a cold Inca Kola!