Empanadas: The Global Fried Pie
I am declaring it, right here, right now:
The Future is Fried Pies.
Fried pies sold in rolling trucks, fried pies sold in cute little cafes, fried pies served as dessert in chichi restaurants.
It is the next step beyond the cupcake and cake pop craze. How do I know this? I just do. I have that kind of nose.
Some background: A few weeks ago, my family went to a local event called Music and Molasses — old timey fun, crafts, music and food. We bought four fried pies — cripsy, little, warm hand-held beauties. They’re famous in the South, and though I have lived in Nashville 20 years, I had never eaten one.
A real shame.
I bit into the peach fried pie (and you have to say “fried pie” with a big Southern accent) and nearly fell out of my chair. Same experience over the blueberry and cherry pies. Ay, madre, what I have been missing.
I think I loved them so much because they remind me of empanadas — the delicious, doughy, warm snacks I grew up eating in Miami. The empanadas of my childhood were guava and picadillo.
OK, back to predicting the future: So I have since told a lot of people I am predicting a new food truck trend. I even tried convincing a friend who owns a snacks food truck. Not sure anyone believed me.
But then, last week, I logged into Amazon and right there, right in my face, was the pre-order notice to Handheld Pies: Pint-sized Sweets and Savories by Rachel Wharton and Sarah Billingsley.
Aha! La prueba! You see, little pies — a la empanadas and fried pies are — The Future.
And lucky, we of Latin American roots, we already know how to eat fried pies and enjoy them in all sorts of ways — con dulces, con carne, con queso, con papas. The empanada is the Global Fried Pie.
I went in search of empanada and fried pie recipes to share here on the Tiki Tiki and discovered that just about every culture out there has their own version of the fried pie/empanada.
Some names you may recognize: Italian calzone, Jamaican patty, Indian Gujia, Polish pierogis, and the classic American turnover.
Seems everyone loves food wrapped in dough.
In Latin America, the Argentinians, Colombians, Venezuelas, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and such, all have their own versions — many of which are sold as quick street food by mobile vendors. (You see, it’s only a matter of time these get all hip in food trucks.) And we call them things such as empanadas, empanaditas, salteñas and pastelitos.
I asked the Tiki Tiki Facebook community to dish about empanadas, and this is what they said:
“Colombian empanadas of course with lots of ají. I know how their made, but I don’t make them. I remember watching my grandmother in Bogota make 400 empanadas for the neighborhood bazar to raise funds for the catholic church.” — Sylvia.
“I make mine with my homemade picadillo, or guava and cream cheese, or ham and cheese. I always use the Goya discs because they don’t break and fry up really well.” — Mary Lynn.
“For me the best empanadas are the ones my Abuela makes – Venezuelan style, with Harina Pan y rellenas de carne mechada. Awesomeness!” — Helen.
“We make empanadas chilenas at home (Alan es de chile), both de queso y de pino (carne molida). However we make them both with bakeable dough and they are ummmmmmm good.” — Adriana.
OK, so, when you see empanadas and fried pies everywhere — as you see salsa and chips everywhere — you’ll remember my prediction.
Below are recipes for empanadas and fried pies and here’s a link to an easy way of making empanada dough — so you don’t have to buy the frozen disks, though you can if you must.
Colombian ground pork and beef empanadas recipe from My Colombian Recipes.
Nika’s Culinaria has a step-by-step photo guide to making Colombian empanadas.
Cuban empanadas recipe over at Gourmet Betty.
Venezuelan Beef Empanadas from the Food Network.
Pumpkin Empanadas from Muy Bueno Cookbook.
Spinach, Apple and Walnut Spanish Empanada from Simple Spanish Food.
Fried Pie Recipes
Apple Fried Pies by Paula Deen.
Southern Coca-Cola Fried (Apple) Pies at Serious Eats.
Mini Nutella Fried Pies by Sweet T Makes Three.
Peach Guijya Indian Empanadas from Indian Simmer.
Watch Paula Deen make Fried Pies
Tell me how much you love empanadas and fried pies!