WHAT'S COOKING? Having Fun with Empanada and Baklava

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

There's something about cooking and trying new recipes  that I find fascinating.

I haven't baked in a while and I miss it. 

While going through the archives, I found this old blog post from 2011.

My mom makes the best empanada (deep fried stuffed pastry), 
and I was hoping to at least come close.

So when I got home, I gave it a shot.

For the empanada filling:  
Using a non-stick skillet, I melted 1 stick of unsalted butter 
and then I stir-fried the onions, cubed chicken breasts and mixed vegetables.

I even made my own dough.

It took a few tries to get it right.

I flattened the dough with this heavy metal presser, a gift from my Mom.

After multiple tries, I finally got the hang of putting the fillings inside the dough.

and formed a perfect empanada...

It was my first empanada, and it didn't come out like my Mom's. 

Mine was more of a deep fried bread with a teaspoon of filling.


Next baking project: baklava.

baklava  is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry 
filled with chopped nuts.

Thanks to my mini food processor, I was able to grind the 2 cups of walnut.

And yes, I attempted to bake my very own homemade dough.

First, I rolled the first dough ball to the size of the pan, and placed it on the pan.

I spread half of the filling over the first dough layer.

I then rolled the small dough ball for the second layer, and placed on top of the filling.

and then spread the second half of the filling (the walnut, egg whites and sugar).

I rolled the last big dough ball, and placed it on top of the cake.
It felt like I was making pizza!

I combined the edges on the perimeter of the cake.

Thanks to Mom, I have my very own Mix Master!

I brushed the top with egg yolk.

Cut the cake, and formed the rhombs.
 I asked my artistic daughter to do the "cutting".

and baked for 45 minutes.

Let it cool.

Voila! My husband gave baklava two thumbs-up!


Have a wonderful day.

Here's the baklava recipe. (Thanks to Susanna A.)


3 cups flour
300 g butter (a little 2.5 sticks of butter)
3 eggs
200 ml sour cream (about 2/3 cups)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 cups walnuts
1.5 cups sugar


  1. Separate the yolks and whites (1 yolk for the top of the cake, 2 yolks in the dough, and whites for the filling.)
  2. Poor 3 egg whites into the bowl and beat until white
  3. Add sugar to the egg whites mixture and beat well until blended
  4. Grind the walnuts in a food processor until very fine.
  5. Add walnuts to the egg and sugar mixture
  6. Mix until fully incorporated
  7. Divide into 2 parts

  1. Sift the flour and combine with the cold butter, shredding or cutting them together to make really small crumbs (You can use the salad shooter and process the mixture twice.)
  2. Pour 2 yolks into the sour cream, add baking soda, salt and blend them together
  3. Make a volcano of you flour/butter flour with a big crater on a cutting board, and pour sour cream mixture inside the crater.
  4. Cut the mixture until the dough forms and stops sticking to the knife
  5. Divide the dough to make 2 large and 1 smaller balls and put the balls in the fridge

Cake Assembling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Put the parchment on the pan (or just butter the pan well
  3. Roll one large dough ball to the size of the pan, put on the pan
  4. Spread half of the filling over the first dough layer
  5. Roll the small dough ball for the second layer, and place it on the top of the filling
  6. Spread second half of the filling
  7. Roll the last big dough ball and place it on the top of the cake, combine the edges on the perimeter of the cake
  8. Spread the yolk over the top of the cake 
  9. Cut the cake forming the rhombs,  wetting the knife to prevent it from sticking.
  10.  Put the cake to the oven for 40-45 min – check readiness with the toothpick
  11.  Take out of the stove, let cake cool in the pan, cut over the rhomb lines, enjoy!

PS: Originally published on 10/20/11

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  1. Thought I smelled somethin good! No wonder someone was busy cooking! Look good! I used to make baklava but not anymore. They're awesome! Have you tried using macadamia nuts? Yummy! Just saying HI and praying all is well with you sister and your family. God bless.

    1. Macadamia nuts and baklava ? That's beyond heavenly. How are you? God bless you, too.


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