Empanadas are said to have originated in Portugal. I was introduced to them through the influx of South Americans who have decided to visit or live in Brisbane. One of the great things about people deciding to migrate or visit where you live is that you are introduced to the food from their homeland. I have seen Empanadas for sale at markets and often indulged in a beef or chicken one for lunch. I love pastry and this pastry is delicious, the filling is sweetly spiced. You can fill an Empanada with vegetarian fillings too. Places that I would go to buy Italian and Greek ingredients now stock lots of food from South America. Places like Pennisi Cuisine in Woolloongabba .

I made these Empanadas for my son’s birthday party. I actually made around eighty of them! They were a big hit and they were all eaten! I watched how to make the pretty twisted pastry on YouTube and here is the link.


I used the dough recipe from SouthAmericanFood.About.Com


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 12 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3/4 – 1 cup water
  • 2 egg yolks


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the salt and the sugar.
  2. Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with two knives, until fairly well blended.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water. Stir in the 1/2 cup of water/egg mixture, a little at a time until the dough starts to come together smoothly. Keep kneading the dough, adding more water/egg a little at a time as necessary (you may need a few tablespoons of extra water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit shaggy until it has thoroughly chilled.
  4. Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. (Dough can also be kept overnight (or a couple of days) in the refrigerator). Dough should be soft and smooth and not elastic – if you poke a hole in it with your finger, the indentation should remain.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and roll into desired thickness.
  6. Makes enough dough for 10-12 large Empanadas.

Recipe For Filling

3 tablespoons of olive oil
130g butter
200g onions, chopped
200g spring onions, chopped
½ tsp chilli powder
1 kg minced beef (not too lean)
250ml hot beef stock
3 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves (optional)
Handful of green olives, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
Ground cumin
Extra butter, melted


Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and spring onion. Fry until the onion is translucent. Add the beef. Cook until the meat is brown, then add the hot stock and simmer until the beef is cooked through. Add the sugar and season with salt, then add the paprika, cinnamon, ground cloves and a little water. Cook over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. Chop the hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and slice the olives, add these to the beef. Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take pieces of pastry about the size of golf balls and roll out to circles 10–15 cm in diameter. Dust lightly with flour. Put a generous spoonful of meat filling in the center of each round. Sprinkle with cumin. Fold the pastry into a half-moon, then fold in the edges, crimping them with your fingers as you go. (See the YouTube link for instructional video on how to crimp). Place the Empanadas on a greased tray and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.


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