Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Empanadas de Platano (Plantain Empanadas)

These are delicious it's mashed sweet plantain, stuffed with a milk custard, and deep-fried then rolled in sugar. These treats are popular in Salvadorian Cuisine, another variation is a version of it stuffed with a thick savory paste of re-fried black beans (which I've only had once)

Anyways so today my mom's friend "Gomez" (did I mention I love her well I said it now :) who is from El Salvador came over and taught us how to make these delicious treats. She told me that she likes her's best because she uses rice flour to make the custard as opposed to corn starch which is what many places that sell them too use because it's cheaper though I don't frown on it at all it's just a different style, she say's it makes it denser, and taste like a delicious rice pudding. Truth be told it does, the rice flour makes it rich, and it tastes like a creamy, thick, rich smooth rice pudding :)

By the way if your Cuban and haven't tried this you gotta try it, it has elements of SOME of the main stuff we love lol. fried sweet plantains, rolled in sugar, stuffed with a creamy custard that reminds us of a cross between arroz con leche (rice pudding) and "natilla" (spanish vanilla cinnamon pudding) and heck it's deep-fried what's better than that ay!

Ingredients for dough:
-3 lbs. ripe yellow plantain with black blotches
Ingredients for filling (this is called "Manjar" pronounced man-haar in Spanish)
-8 cups milk
-3 sticks of cinnamon
-1 fat pinch salt (optional)
-2 cups rice flour
-2 cups white sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Additional Ingredients:
-oil to deep-fry (I personally use canola oil to deep-fry it has a clean taste, high smoking point, and things don't seem to absorb it, however in Latin cooking like Mexico and Central America corn oil is very popular but I do not like it because it has a lot of omega-6 fatty acids, and leaves a heavy taste, oxidizes quicker too.)

Directions for dough:

(1) Wash plantains real well, remove ends and cut them into 3 sections. Place in a pot with enough water to barely cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then leave in medium heat until tender, they will be tender when they swell, and the peels crack open. Atleast 30 minutes you want them tender.
(2) Drain them well while hot, carefully remove the peels, while still hot mash to a paste with a potato masher like real well until you obtain a dough, it doesn't have to be a super smooth paste, just get rid of most lumps and mash well. You have to do it while hot to really make it mash up.
(3) Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Directions for filling:
(1) Heat a large pot with milk, sugar and cinnamon stick. Allow to come to a bubble, then reduce heat to super low simmer 5-10 minutes to infuse with cinnamon. Do this uncovered.
(2) Put the rice flour in a large bowl and dilute/ whisk it with milk, to form a smooth loose paste with no lumps.
(3) Add the rice flour mixture pouring in a stream to the pot of milk, sugar, and cinnamon, and whisk it while you pour it in so it doesn't lump. Raise heat to medium high heat, whisk continuosly 5- 10 minutes until it thickens. Taste it and add more sugar if you would like to, and stir in vanilla.
(4) Turn off heat, and allow it to cool and come to room temperature, or cool in fridge.

Directions to make Empanadas:
(1) Have a large pan or several plates, ready and the surface rubbed with oil (because you will place the empanadas you make on these and don't want them to stick)

(2) Have another tiny bowl or whatever with oil to grease your hands so dough doesn't stick.

(3) Grab a ball of cooled plantain dough, flatten into a round flat not to thin disk,
spoon a tablespoon or teaspoonful of the filling (Manjar).
Close it my making all the ends meat,
like close it try to seal it,
if u don't have enough dough to close add a little patch to close it up. Roll gently into a round oval shape.
Place them on the oiled pans or plates.
Directions to finish off the dish:
(1) Heat a frying pan in my case i use a wok with generous amounts of oil (I'd say about 2 cups atleast) over medium high heat, when oil is hot slide the empanadas into the hot oil
and fry about 5-7 minutes on one side, and carefully flip them over (I use a spoon and fork you can use a ladel whatever, just be careful not to break them they are sensetive when hot) once you flip it fry another 5-7 minutes until browned.
(2) Drain on paper towels,
and while warm roll them in sugar.
(3) Allow to cool a bit and enjoy, you can eat them as snack, breakfast, dessert whatever you'd like :) If you have leftovers simply re-heat them.

This is the inside of it :)
(1) The filling called "Manjar" for these empanadas is actually a dessert on it's own, it's a type of milk custard, you can actually eat this on it's own in bowls dusted with cinnamon powder. They can also be cooled in individual serving paper cups dusted with cinnamon and enjoyed cold :)

(2) The portions can be adjusted, you want less dough use less plantains, you want more use more plantains, etc.

(3) It does take some skill to work with the dough of mashed plantains and everything but hopefully these pictures will be helpful and you can always see videos on youtube on how other people work the dough or techniques they may use. This is how I learned to make them :)

(4) Yeah I haven't bought a new camera so bare with me and if you don't want to then oh wellz toodles :-P ha ha <3 ya