Cheese Empanada

August, 11, 2016.

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Or as we say it in Portuguese: Empadinha de Queijo. It’s really a single crusted mini quiche called empada. You can play with the cheese. Be my guest.  Molds from my grandmother, God bless her.

 

Makes 36 Empadinhas

 For the Dough:

3 1/3 cups (495g) all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons salt

2 ½ sticks (20 tablespoons/ 275g) unsalted butter, lightly chilled, and cubed

2 yolks

3-4 tablespoons cold water

 

For the Filling:

1 lb cottage cheese, drained overnight in a colander

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup (125ml) whole milk

½ cup (125ml) heavy cream)

1 whole egg

3 tablespoons (26g) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (28g) tightly packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of Cayenne pepper

Equipment:  36 one-ounce individual tartlet molds, about 2 inches in diameter

 

  • Make the dough: Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse about 20 times to finely mix in the butter. Add the yolks, and pulse again. Add the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Place the dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball, then shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This can be done up to two days ahead.)
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before working so that it becomes malleable. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about ¼ to ½ inch thick (not too thin), and use a round cutter slightly larger than the empadinhas mold. Cut them close together to get as many as possible. Carefully lift each circle and fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the mold, leaving some extra dough above the edges. If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry—patch the cracks with scraps using a wet finger to “glue” them in place. Chill the crusts while preparing the filling. You will have scraps of dough left over.
  • Prepare the Filling: In a bowl, season the cheese (weather you are using Minas, cottage, or Ricotta) with the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a blender, mix the milk, cream, egg, flour, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. (Liquid filling can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)
  • Assemble the Empadinhas: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator; spoon about one teaspoon of the cheese into each mold; carefully pour the filling into each mold leaving about ¼ inch edge. Depending on your empadinha molds, you might have just a little bit of dough left over. Bake the empadinhas until they are nicely golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating at least once. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.