Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Empanadas

I was dreaming of sweet potatoes when I walked into my kitchen on the farm. There, in a plastic crate was a pile of recently discovered sweet potatoes. They had been living a little while in an old brick oven kitchen, and had been forgotten. And then they had been uncovered, only to land in my kitchen where my eager hands grabbed them and started peeling.

Peeled them, chopped them in chunks, and tossed them in a pot of boiling water.

When the potatoes were soft, I took them out of their hot bath and mashed them in a bowl. I added (to taste):

A bit of butter
A couple spoonfuls of queso fresco (which, in this form, was more like sour cream)

Next, another discovery: you can use corn flour to make pastry dough.

Half fat to flour, I told myself as I approximated proportions. This pastry dough contained:

White corn flour

First I measured out the dry ingredients, then chopped in the butter. No pastry cutter, no problem. Criss-cross cutting with knives did the trick, until the dough was in small crumbs. Then I added water little by little, tossing the dough with a fork until it formed a ball.

Then came the tricky and not so elegant part - putting it all together. I am far too impatient to wait for a dough to get cold in the fridge, so it always is a bit more difficult to work with. Difficult, but possible.

I divided the ball in half, laying out the first layer in the rough oblong shape of an empanada. I spooned the sweet potato mixture inside, leaving a small dough border. Then I patchworked together a top - flattening the rest of dough in my hands in small bits and laying them on top. It worked surprisingly well, but was a bit tedious.

A sprinkle of sugar on top, and it was into the oven. 200 Celsius, for about 30 minutes, until it turned a nice brown.

My host family and fellow wwoofer were pleased, but not as much as me.

This is one case in which, in my opinion, using corn flour is actually better than wheat flour. The resulting pastry is the perfect complement to sweet potatoes which have a hearty flavor. Normally with gluten-free substitutes, I am trying to imitate something that I often see done with wheat flour. However, corn flour pastry stands on its own, has a different taste and texture, and is just as good.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good! Interesting what you're learning about cooking/baking etc.