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Picnic Recipes: Cheese & Spinach Empanadas

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Picnic Recipes: Cheese & Spinach Empanadas

The ideal shareable picnic pastry to enjoy throughout the day. If you're looking for something quick and easy, just opt in for shop bought pastry for a quick win.

Complete your picnic menu with our Broad Bean, Pea, Feta & Mint Salad and Sticky Gingerbread Traybake.

Ingredients

Makes approx. 10

Cheese & Spinach Empanadas

Dough
360g plain flour
½ tsp salt
170g butter (cold)
1 egg (cold)
170g milk (cold)

Spinach filling
2 tsp of red chilli powder (optional)
225g of ricotta cheese
110g of shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, diced
285g of fresh spinach, stalks removed, washed and chopped
1 tbsp plain flour

Glaze
1 egg
50g plain flour (for rolling)

Instructions

For the pastry

  1. Place the flour, butter and salt into a food processor and blend to make a fine crumb, place into a large bowl.
  2. In a jug beat together the egg and milk preferably straight from the fridge.
  3. To the bowl of crumbs add the milk mixture and use a cutlery knife to mix in the liquid as quickly as possible, ensure the liquid is evenly distributed.
  4. Draw the pastry flakes together with the cutlery knife and bring into a ball with your hands.
  5. Place the pastry ball into cling film and flatten the pastry into a disc, smoothing out any cracks, wrap well in the cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chilli powder, ricotta cheese, Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and egg together.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and sauté, turning the temperature down to low-medium after a minute continue cooking until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Turn up to medium heat and add the spinach, cook until the spinach wilts/just loses its shape. Sprinkle over the flour to the pan, stirring and cooking out the flour for a minute.
  4. Stir the spinach into the cheese mixture and allow to cool completely, taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary (the filling can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until needed).

To assemble the empanadas

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180c fan.
  2. In a small bowl or jug beat the remaining egg with a fork until well combined, this will be used to seal and glaze the empanadas.
  3. Using a little flour to prevent the flour from sticking, roll the pastry to 3mm thick and cut into 10cm discs, ideally using a round pastry cutter or cut around a lid or saucer.
  4. Place 2-3 compact teaspoons of the spinach and cheese mixture into the centre of a disc.
  5. Using a little beaten egg, brush the edges of the pastry to create an egg glaze border which will help seal the pastry.
  6. Fold the pastry in half to make a semi-circle, gently press the pastry together starting from the centre and working out to the edges (this should push remaining air out of the pastry). Push firmly to seal the edges.
  7. Trim around the edges with a sharp knife to neaten the edges (ensuring you leave a 1-2cm border around the filling.Repeat with the rest of the pastry.
  8. Place the shaped empanadas onto a lightly oiled baking sheet or line the tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Chill the pastries in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Bake the empanadas in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool briefly before serving. Alternatively allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge and eat at room temperature when required.

Note: You can use 500g bought shortcrust pastry instead of the empanada dough if you need a speedier dish

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