Baking with Tito’s: Cinco de Mayo Pork Chile Empanadas
May is Celiac Awareness Month, and since Tito’s Handmade Vodka is certified Gluten Free (making it safe for folks with this condition), we’ve lined up a few delectable surprises to prove just how delicious gluten free can actually be.
Who knew that Tito’s Handmade Vodka would be the secret to flakier crusts, lighter, lacier crepes, fluffier crullers, and a truly transcendent Texas Sheet Cake? This other gluten-free Austin original did… so, bust out the cookie sheets and tie on that apron ‘cause we’re about to make a mess with Blackbird Bakery!
Cinco de Mayo Pork Chile Empanadas
Nothing says “Cinco de Mayo Celebration” quite like a zesty, spicy empanada with a crust so flaky that you’ll throw a confetti party on your clothes with the first bite. There’s only one way to get a crust this delectable — just add one to two tablespoons of Tito’s Handmade Vodka (and while you have the bottle out, you might as well mix up a cocktail)! The alcohol evaporates in the oven, creating mouthwatering, flakey layers that will be the envy of the baking world, or at least your guests. This technique applies to all baking, not just gluten-free, but since May is Celiac Awareness Month, why not celebrate Cinco de Mayo in gluten-free style this year?
The juicy, flavorful filling for these empanadas can be used for more than just this recipe; try it in bean dip, queso, pork enchiladas, or use it to load up a mountain of nachos!
For the Crust:
- 2 1/4 cups Blackbird Bakery Pie & Pasta Blend (+ more for rolling out)
- 1-2 Tbsp Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
- 2 large eggs
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine Blackbird Bakery’s Pie & Pasta Blend with the cold diced butter and mix on low until the contents looks like damp cornmeal.
Add the eggs and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, mixing just until the dough comes together and is sticking to the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
Turn dough onto a counter that has been lightly dusted with additional Pie & Pasta Blend.
Knead until the dough is smooth, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the best results.
For the Filling:
- 1 lb (454 g) ground pork
- 1 (4.5 oz/130 g) can of diced spicy (or mild) green chilies
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp peanut oil (or other high heat oil)
- half of a medium onion, minced
- 1 (4.5 oz/130 g) can black olives, drained and minced
- 1/4 cup (35 g) golden raisins (optional)
- 1/4 cup (60 g) tomato paste
Heat a large skillet with the peanut oil until nice and hot. Add the ground pork, onion, salt, pepper, and spices. Cook until the pork is done cooking (yes, try a spoonful!) then add the black olives, raisins (if using), and the tomato paste.
Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Now, form your empanadas.
Remove the dough from the fridge, dust your counter with more Pie & Pasta Blend, and begin kneading your dough just until it is pliable but still very cold.
Roll the dough out until it is at least 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 4-inch rounds (or larger, depending on how many you want to make). Repeat until all of your dough has been used. We like to put the unbaked rounds on a large plate in the fridge so they don’t get too soft in the hot kitchen.
Place 3-4 rounds on your cookie sheet and then fill half of each round with the pork filling. Brush the edges of the dough with water, then fold the dough in half, being sure to line up the edges. Press the edges down with your fingers, then do so with a fork for an extra tight seal. Repeat until all of your empanadas are filled. You may need to bake off a few batches.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with a selection of salsas or all on their own.
Serves 12 comfortably.