Pork, Caper and Pine Nut Empanadas

, from Issue #99. September, 2021
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Pork, Caper and Pine Nut Empanadas

Perfect finger food – a lightly spiced pork mince filling encased in melt-in-the-mouth pastry. It’s hard to stop at just one of these gorgeous little morsels.

Makes: 24 Empanadas


1¾ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
75 grams vegetable shortening (e.g., Kremelta)
90 grams butter, chopped
¼ cup chilled water

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
250 grams pork mince
1 cup tinned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers, well drained
¼ cup currants
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
sea salt and ground pepper

To assemble
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten


Equipment: Grease and line a flat baking tray.

Dough: Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add the shortening and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together, adding a little more water if needed. Tip onto the bench and form into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll out one piece on a lightly floured surface and cut out 12 x 10cm circles. Repeat with the second piece of dough. The scraps can be brought back together and re-rolled. Place on the tray, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Filling: Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add all the spices and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the mince and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, capers, currants and pine nuts and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes until the mixture is quite dry. Season well and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

To assemble: Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of each pastry circle and place 1 teaspoon of mozzarella on top. Brush the edges with egg. Fold to form a half moon and press the edges together then use a fork to tightly seal. Place on the baking sheet and brush with egg. Cook for 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve hot or warm.