Beef Empanadas

From issue #7.
Photography by Vanessa Wu.
Beef Empanadas


1 ¾ cups plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
75 grams vegetable shortening (e.g. Kremelta)
90 grams unsalted butter
¼ cup iced water

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes – optional
250 grams beef mince
250 grams tinned tomatoes, crushed
¼ cup currants
30 grams pine nuts, toasted
1 egg


Dough: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the shortening and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight until completely chilled.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out 12 x 10cm circles. Place on baking paper and refrigerate again for half an hour. The scraps can be re-rolled.

Filling: Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until soft. Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef, cook until browned, then add the tomatoes, currants and pine nuts and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. The mixture should be quite dry. Season well and set aside to cool.

Assembly: Preheat the oven to 200ºC – fan bake. Lightly beat the egg. Put a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each pastry circle. Brush the edges with egg. Fold to form a half moon and use a fork to seal the edges. Brush the tops with egg, place on a baking sheet lined with a teflon sheet or baking paper and cook until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12