I am going to teach you about empanadas today, these are the famous turnovers from Latin America. Empanadas are, I dare say, THE snack of Latin America. Empanadas do require quite a bit of work, first you have to prepare the dough and then the filling, then you need to fill and seal each empanada before it is baked or fried. As many dishes, empanadas are originally from Spain. However, Spanish empanadas have little resemblance with the empanadas from Latin America. Spanish empanadas are similar to a pie. The empanada from Galicia for example is big and round, like a pie, usually filled with chicken and champignons. Often the pie topping has some braided elements and is decorated in some kind of way. This is very different from the empanadas from Latin America. In this article we will have a look at how empanadas are made in Latin America. Of course I will give a lot of recipes at the end of this article.
Combining cheese with a sweet component such as jam, seems to be a Latin American thing. Needless to say that they also serve their turnovers called empanadas with cheese and quince paste. Originally these are actually served with guava, but that is very hard to come by in Germany. Of course I have a recipe for homemade quince paste on my blog. So when I first tried out this recipe, I made a small amount as I was not sure if we would like it. However, it literally took second and people asked for seconds, so I knew this recipe would make it on the blog. So let me introduce you to empanadas with cheese and quince paste filling!
Today I am taking part in the German blogger event called kulinarische Weltreise (culinary travels troughout the world). Today’s stop: Chile. I knew immediately what I wanted to make. Brazo de reina! This literally translates as a “queen’s arm”. More commonly known as a Swiss roll or sponge roll. What distinguishes the Chilean roll from others is the filling. Manjar, or often known as dulce de leche, is a caramel made from sweetened milk. I do understand why you would think of a queen when you prepare this, this caramel definitely has some royal characteristics. So be pepared for a light and fluffy roll filled with sweet and delicious caramel spread.
Pascualina is a savory pie from Uruguay prepared with spinach and eggs. “Pascua” translates as Easter, thus this pie is usually eaten during the holy week or “semana santa”. As many Uruguayans have Italian ancestry, many Italian dishes were adapted to what was available in Uruguay. In Italy pascualina is normally prepared with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, however, Uruguayans like to infuse flavor with bacon and additional veggies such as bell peppers. Other dishes include milanesa, cutlets, which already tell you the origin. Another is the quince tart named pasta frola, which is very popular in Uruguay.
We were served torrijas at a Spanish wedding. I was quite surprised that this rather simple dessert aka French toast was actually served at a wedding. Just like for French toast, you will dunk old bread in milk first and then dip it in eggs before you fry it with some olive oil in a frying pan. However, wehn we were served these torrijas at the wedding, my hubby got so excited, he managed to eat two servings despite the fact that we had been served an endless amount of courses beforehand. I am sure the simple French toast was made extra special, the milk was replaced with heavy cream and homemade bread used. Spanish torrijas are normally served during lent, you try to offer something filling even if it may be plain and simple.
Today I am introducing the small cheese puffs called pão de queijo from Brazil. Cheese puffs are extremely popular in Latin America, every country has its version and style. Almost all have in common that they are not prepared with wheat flour, but instead tapioca (also known as cassava or manioc) starch is used. On top, it is the starch and not the flour what you are looking for. Naturally, they are all gluten-free. I already introduced the ones from Colombia called pandebonos and also the Paraguayan ones called chipa.
If hubby says after the first bite that this tastes exactly like in Colombia, you simply know that this is a winner. May I introduce Colombian mantecada aka pound cake (ponqué). The main difference between a regular pound cake and this one is that part of the flour is replaced with corn flour. This automatically makes the cake denser. However, nonetheless very delicious. In Colombia this cake is served for breakfast or as a snack. It is usually eaten plain without any glaze or other components, pure and simple.
Let me introduce the perfect snack from Latin America to you: empanadas! Empanadas are turnovers with many different types of fillings. This version is with beef and potatoes from Argentina. But the options are endless. Of course I have introduced empanadas from different countries on my blog. How about Uruguayan empanadas with beef filling, Bolivian chicken empanadas, which are called salteñas, empanadas from Colombia, which are traditionally fried, or sweet empanadas with dulce de leche filling. Empanadas from Argentina and Uruguay are often made with wheat flour and are usually baked. I personally like this version the best. Empanadas can be easily frozen, you just need to make sure to bake them longer, they will taste just as freshly made.
I think it is about high time to get something savory in between all these sweets here. Today I brought something from Bolivia, chicken turnovers or salteñas how they are called locally. Normally turnovers are called empanadas in Spanish. However, for some reason, the Bolivians decided to call these salteñas. Of course I have presented empanadas on this blog. First I showed you the typical beef empanadas from my country Uruguay, followed by classic Colombian empanadas that remain to be a hit. Bolivian “empanadas” differ slightly in the sense that a) the dough is sweetened, and b) gelatine is used for the filling in order to ensure that it remains juicy and moist. When I tried them for the first time, I was a bit surprised that I liked them much better on day 2. I had prepared two batches, one which was baked immediately, and one which was baked after the fully prepared salteñas had chilled in the fridge overnight, tightly covered. Maybe it was the fact that the ingredients could get friendly with each other, I don’t know, but I loved them on day 2.
Brazilians love a proper and decadent dessert. This chocolate cake with Brigadeiro filling (this is a confect), is definitely a calorie bomb. A small woman would probably devour two days of calories or so if eating one piece. I don’t know, but I know that this ain’t healthy or low in calories. I made this cake originally for a birthday of a Brazilian. I used the smallest cake pan I had. Because you won’t be able to eat much more than a tiny piece. This is a cake for all chocolate lovers. Sweetened condensed milk is a staple in Brazilian cuisine, especially in any cake. Brigadeiro is a small ball, made of sweetened condensed milk, butter and other dairy products and cocoa or chocolate. The balls are rolled in chocolate shavings (see pictured below). This chocolate cake has a Brigadeiro filling and frosting. The only difference is that it is slightly looser so that you can use it as a filling or frosting. The whole cake had to be covered in chocolate shavings as well, of course.