Monday, May 18, 2015

The DESSERTS of DELICIOUS TEMPTATION: Empanadas

Just one more day to go until the release of my new novel DELICIOUS TEMPTATION. I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes I’ve been sharing the past few weeks. I’m posting the final one a day early because I have some other fun things in store for tomorrow. So come back and find out how I’m going to be celebrating!


In my new novel DELICIOUS TEMPTATION, empanadas play an important role in the heroine’s plan to realize her dreams.

I picked this dessert for that critical moment because it’s a traditional and well-known pastry and because there are so many different ways to eat them.

Empanada comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around some sort of sweet or savory filling. They’re a mix between a European meat pie and a Hostess fruit pie. Kind of.

I grew up with traditional Argentine empanadas thanks to my Argentine uncle who would always order them from his favorite bakery and serve them during parties at his home. My favorite ones were filled with ground beef, boiled egg and one green olive.

But since I’m featuring the desserts of DELICIOUS TEMPTATION in these posts, I’m giving you a sweet empanada recipe.

One disclaimer though. While usually I’m all about the butter in these desserts, I decided to change things up and try out a dairy free recipe. You see, Heather Howland, my editor at Entangled, had never tried most of the desserts mentioned in the novel. And while she said they all sounded, well, delicious, she especially craved an empanada. Only problem is, she can’t eat dairy. So I promised her I’d work on a recipe and send her a special batch!

I spent a few weeks researching dairy free baking blogs and tested the usual substitutions. I’m happy to say I finally found the right combination of dough and filling and icing.

Even if you don’t have a dairy restriction, I highly recommend trying these little pockets of heaven.

Enjoy!

DAIRY FREE CHERRY EMPANADAS WITH POWDERED SUGAR GLAZE



Step #1: Make the dough

Dough
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold coconut oil (chilled)
about 1/2 cup cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut coconut oil into flour either with a food processor or a pastry cutter. Slowly add water to make the dough form a ball without being sticky. Wrap in plastic or put in a sealed plastic container and let it chill in the fridge while you making the filling.



Step #2: Make the filling

Filling
3-4 cups frozen cherries (pitted)
1 cup water & cherry juice combined
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup sugar

Heat cherries in a saucepan over medium heat. As the cherries defrost, the juice will come out. Cook until defrosted, but don’t boil. Drain the cherries and set them aside in a bowl.  Pour the juice into a measuring cup and then fill with water until you get 1 cup of liquid total. Mix the cornstarch and sugar in another bowl until well blended. Pour the cherry/water liquid back into your pan and warm again over medium heat. Add in the cornstarch/sugar and mix thoroughly. Continue to mix as the liquid starts to thicken. This should only take about a minute or two. Be careful not to let it boil. Once it’s thickened, add the cherries and cook for 2 minutes. Pour into another bowl and let it cool to room temperature.



Step #3: Prepare & bake the empanadas

Cooking spray (coconut oil or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons flour
Cherry Filling
Empanada Dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a nonstick cookie sheet with coconut oil or vegetable oil spray.

Take out the dough from fridge and knead it a few times with your fingers. This helps soften the dough a little so it will be easier to roll. It might also be easier to work with if you break the ball into half. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough about 1/8-inch thickness on a floured board. Cut dough circles with some type of round cutter. You can use any size. I used a ramekin. Place cut circles on the cookie sheet.

Spoon about 1-2 Tablespoons of the cherry filling onto the center of each round (the amount of filling is going to vary depending on the size of your circles). Dip your finger in the water and moisten ends of circle, fold in half and crimp seam with your fingers. Once all of the empanadas are filled and sealed, dip a fork into the flour and press around the edges of the empanadas for a more decorative seal. Prick the top of each with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes. 




Step #4: Add glaze

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together until creamy. Brush onto tops of warm empanadas.


And you’re done. Now you get to eat them!




ABOUT DELICIOUS TEMPTATION




The only thing naughtier than a bad boy is a good girl...

Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn't paying off. So when her brother's sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara's tempted to be very bad indeed...

After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara's brother he would never think about, let alone do.

But this bad boy is in deep trouble...because Amara's determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.  

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