I haven’t been very regular with my Daring Baker challenges and I might have missed more than the ones I’ve done this year. But when I saw the challenge for October, I knew I was going to make it. For one thing, it did not involve a lot of sugar butter or cream as it was savoury. For another thing, it was bread which is something I love to bake.
Unfortunately, my new oven conked halfway through the month and it was the 2nd week of this month before the company technicians could procure the necessary spare parts and repair it. That meant that I could not meet the Daring Baker deadline.
It is said, “Better late than never” and it certainly holds as fat as this bread goes, I decided to put my newly repaired oven to the test by baking last month’s Daring Baker challenge recipe, the Empanada Gallega, set and hosted there by Patri of Asi Son Las Cosas. It also happened that a group of us Indian bakers on Facebook decided to celebrate World Bread Day with some shaped/ decorative home-made breads, and this was the perfect bread for that.
The Empanada is a Spanish stuffed bread that is made in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and South East Asian countries that were formerly Spanish colonies. It was probably brought into Spain by invading Arabs.
Empanadas are usually baked though they can be fried as well and may be filled with a variety of other fillings including vegetables, meats, cheese. They are usually made as small individual serve turnovers (bread dough folded over filling) in half-moon shapes that are crimped on one side, or like a large flat pie and then sliced. In fact the name “Empanada” drives from the Spanish word “empanar” meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
Some form or the other of this bread/ pastry is made in most cuisines across the world. Empanadas are a speciality in Spain and the Empanada Gallega is flat, pie-shaped variety from the Spanish province of Gallicia, where there are special festivals dedicated to this food.
For the Empanada Gallega, the dough is made with flour, yeast, oil, salt and paprika and a filling made with a “sofrito” which is a seasoning made of sautéed onion, green pepper, tomato, garlic that is mixed with meat or vegetables. The dough is rolled out into two circles or rectangles between which the filling is places and sealed all around. The top is decorated with leftover dough and baked. This video gives a good idea on how to shape an Empanada Gallega
I used a vegetarian filling for my Empanada Gallega, naturally, of mildly spiced caramelised onions, mashed potatoes, peas and mashed paneer (an Indian milk cheese). I also had a go at decorating the top of my “pie” which didn’t turn out quite as I had visualised it, but I’m not complaining.
A Vegetarian Empanada Gallega.
(Dough recipe adapted from Daring Baker challenge, October 2012)