In Brazil, we keep birthdays the way they should be – simple and delicious. Here, every time a kid has a birthday we have an endless discussion on what to do for food (unless you do pizza or hot dogs, but because of her acid reflux, we’ve been recently advised she shouldn’t have either. Lucky us!). There in Brazil, you just go to one of their several bakeries and order trays of little savory pastries, that can have yummy fillings like chicken, fish, cheese or vegetables. You can also order trays of little sweets, which are chocolate/coconut/nutmeg/you-name-it AMAZING truffles. And everybody’s happy! Nobody expects anyone to be stuck in the kitchen making an actual dinner for a birthday party.
So in honor of that, I’ve decided to do little savory pastries for Melissa’s upcoming birthday (too bad I can’t order trays of it here, in what’s supposed to be the land of opportunity :). This recipe is for what’s called in Brazil “Empadinha”, which resembles a lot like a tiny chicken pot pie (but tastes even better). Today I’ll do a trial, and once I’m done I’ll publish this post with pictures (and add my first link to the “Things I Dare Cook” page! Yay). Who’s brave enough to try it with me too?? Only the hungry for pastries+chicken will survive :). If that’s you, here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 1/2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of lard
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of extra-virgil olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
1/4 cup homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup shredded chicken (if you like the chicken version, which is my favorite – but you can also use chopped raw shrimp)
1 tablespoon of finely shopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
How to Make It
If you’re as kitchen-challenged as me, take a deep breath and say a prayer :). Then trust the Lord has graced you a temporary super chef ability, and get cooking!
It’s not gonna be that hard, really (keep telling yourself that, like I do). In a food processor, toss in the flower and run it on low (that’s the easy way to “sift” it). Then add the butter, lard and salt to run it again until it becomes like cornmeal. Add the whole egg with the 5 1/2 tablespoons of water and run it until it becomes “dough-y” (pulling from the sides). Then pretend you’re one the kids with play-doh and make a ball of it. Put it aside “to rest”. (You can rest too, but just for a minute!)
Next you’re going to beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. This thing will serve to brush the tops of the pastries in the end so they’re shiny and flaky. Set it aside.
Now for the filling: heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and sauté (how fancy do I sound? :) for 1 minute. Then add the chicken, stock, parsley and salt to taste. Simmer that, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
Do you have cooking board? I hope so, ’cause you’re gonna need a flat long surface. Flour it lightly and then roll out the pastry (you know, the one that’s been “resting”) until it’s about 1/8 of an inch. You don’t have to get the whole thing at once – maybe just start with half of it, then do the other half. After this, time to cut circles! With a 1 1/2-inch cutter (honestly? I used the cooking spray’s lid) make 32 circles and then press them into the spaces of a mini-cupcake tray (or 1-inch tin pastry shells, if you’re fancy). Fill that with 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, or enough to almost fill it. Cover with the remaining pastry circles, pressing down around the edges.
If you want to be super awesome (like I did), you can decorate the top of them with the pastry scraps left behind, pressing them lightly in the center of each mold. Then, for the grand finale, brush the top of the pastry with the egg yolk + water you beat earlier. Bake for 20 minutes or until it’s nice and golden. Makes 16 little savory pieces of heaven :).
For the next Things I Dare Cook, I’m going to do Thanksgiving-y Velvet Cupcakes (pretty much red velvet with orange coloring instead of red lol). Stay tuned!