Empanadas are another form of the delicious stuffed pastries, meat or cheese, from almost every culture around the world. Traditionally from the southwest of the U.S. and through South America, these are usually made with non-kosher ingredients such as lard , seafood, or a mixture of meat and cheese. I've adapted this recipe from one in The New York Times, April, 2009, using vegetable shortening and a kosher meat filling. They can be made larger for a main course, but we like them as an appetizer.
Yield: 24 pastries, approximately 3 " at the largest point
Melt Crisco for pastry in the microwave or small frying pan. Mix with salt and 2/3 cup of very warm water (110 ° F.). Put flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Turn on the processor and pour half the liquid through the feeding tube. Stop the processor and pulse while adding the remaining liquid. Pulse a few more times to knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is not becoming smooth and elastic, remove the dough and knead briefly by hand on a lightly floured surface. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
Sauté beef and onions in Crisco. Cook until the beef and onion are slightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.Add cumin, paprika, and hot sauce. Preheate oven to 400° F.
Roll dough as thin as possible. Cut 3 " circles. Place a tablespoon of meat mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a thin border around filling. Top with a slice of egg, some pieces of olive, and two raisins.Brush beaten egg on empty half of circle, fold dough over to make a semi-circle, and crimp edges with a fork to seal. Place on a foil or parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Turn empanadas over, bake another 5 minutes until lightly browned on both sides. Pour off any fat in the baking pan. Serve immediately or cool, refrigerated. To serve, warm in an open pan at 350° until slightly crisp.
When cool, these can be frozen. Be sure to wrap them well, either loosely in freezer bags, or closely packed in one layer enclosed in foil. Once defrosted, they should be warmed in a 350° oven until slightly crisp.