Pastry

Empanadas for idiots (pumpkin and blackbean pastries with mole verde)

 

Part three in the 'Maddy fucks up dough' series - these were originally going to be empanadas, but I fucked up the (cornmeal) dough. I either bought the wrong kind of cornmeal, put the wrong amount of water in it, or left out another flour I should also have added - it's a mystery for the ages. As such, these are now blackbean pastries with green mole. So they're in no way 'right' but they were 'good'.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingredients:

200g Dried Black Beans
500g Pumpkin
3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
One brown onion, finely chopped
One big red chilli, finely chopped (with or without seeds - do you)
Couple of handfuls of corriander, finely chopped
2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
1-2 packets (6 - 8 sheets) puff pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

Mole verde:

1/2 Bunch coriander
1/4 bunch mint
1/2  cup sunflowerseeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Cup green tomatos, chopped roughly (if you don't know someone with a tomato plant that you can grab the unripe ones off, red ones would probably do, it just wouldn't be as aggressively GREEN as mine).
2 cups spinach
1 Lemon
1 Cup olive oil
a lot of salt

Cook the black beans according to the instructions on the pack (generally you boil them for like 30-40 minutes. You can also soak them overnight THEN cook them. I'm sure this has some benefit. But what?). Roughly chop and cut the skin off the pumpkin, then boil until soft (it needs to be quite soft to hold everything together).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli in a pan with some oil until the onion is translucent, then add the cooked blackbeans and pumpkin. Mix everything so it all comes togther into a bean-y paste. Add the spinach and the coriander. 

Let the pastry defrost for 10-15 mins, then cut some circles out by going around the edge of a saucer (you want the circles to be about lady palm-sized). You're aiming for about 4 circles out of every sheet (I did some big and some small circles cause by this time I was so mad about the empanada dough that I'd p much given up). Put about one teaspoon of blackbean and pumpkin mixture in the middle of each circle. Fold over the top to make a semi-circle, then seal the edges by pinching the pastry and folding it over (I didn't really describe that well but you'll work it out).

Now, make the weirdest most inauthertic mole ever. I just read the 'mole verde' section of this article and winged it from there, so I have no idea if it tasted right. It was kind of like a salty green-juice, so if you just wanna go with hot sauce or leave them plain I won't blame you. 

Toast the seeds in a fry pan. When they're toasted, blitz (you will need a blender or food processor for this one) together with the herbs, spinach, tomato and olive oil to form a kind of 'smoothy' consistency. Add the juice of the lemon and taste. Add salt, more lemon and oil until it starts talking less like a juice and more like a sauce. 


Hot and rich fish and vege pies

To me pastry is super hard - it's more like maths than cooking and you can't really do it by feel - you have to stick to the recipe and measure everything out and that's very boring. So go ahead and just get store bought pastry for these pies if you want - no one's gonna care.

But if, like me, you're single and there's nothing on at the movies and you've got a Saturday to kill, give making it from scratch a go. People will be way more impressed. It's only really worth trying in winter if you live in Brisbane cause the butter just gets way too melted to work with. Unless you've got air conditioning in your kitchen. In which case get just your butler to do it instead I guess?

I only made the short crust bases myself - and honestly they were a bit shit. The puff pastry tops were store bought and much tastier. I used this recipe from the BBC cause I thought English people should know something about pies? I'm sure they do, I'm the problem.

The most important part of these pies is the filling, not the pastry. While on Masterchef or whatever it's a fucken disaster when the pastry is a little raw or a little burnt on top, for most people it just needs to be hot and a bit crunchy and hold something delicious. 

To make a vegetarian version of this, do pretty much the same thing but leave out the fish

Makes two medium-sized pies, so probably enough for 10ish people, less if you're not having sides.

Ingridients

3 Carrots
3 leeks

1/2 a head of cauliflower
1 bulb of fennel
1/4 bunch of parsley
1/4 bunch dill
500g of white fish (get whatever's on sale or tell the fish person you want a 'meatier' white fish so it'll stay together better.) cut into bite-sized chunks.
400mls of cream
500mls of milk
1 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
500gms cheese (grated)
500gms of butter
Puff pastry
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees

Cut the green bit off the leek and slice it vertically into circle shaped slices about 2-3 cms thick (makes sure you wash these thoroughly to get the grit out). Cut the carrot in the same way, then roughly cut up the cauliflower, and cut the fennel bulb vertically and then horizontally - nothing should be cut much bigger than the leek and carrot slices. 

Saute these vegetables with 250gms of the butter in a big wok/frypan until they're getting soft.

Meanwhile, put the milk, rest of the butter, white wine, and bay leaves into a large saucepan. Add the fish, and poach until it's just cooked. Add the cream and the vegetables and combine. Add the cheese and when that's melted and the vegetables are soft, add the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. 

Line your pie tin/s with pastry (if you hand made it, you may have to bake the bases for 5-10 minutes before you put the filling in) and add the fish and vege filling. Cover with puff-pastry - crimping the edges closed if you know how to do that (I don't).

Cook for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. If you're oven is really fucked it will probably cook the pastry unevenly, so make sure you keep an eye on your pie in case you need to turn it around in the oven so some bits don't get burnt.