Masa harina is a corn flour that is used to make tortillas. It is processed with lime, which is what gives it such an authentic Mexican flavor. When blended together it creates a tender flaking pastry, that is the perfect pocket to hold the ooey-gooey goodness inside!
The key to making light and flaky pastry (yes it’s totally possible with gluten free flours!), is using cold shortening and only cutting it into the flour until it forms pea-sized crumbs.
Once in the oven, the heat melts the fat pieces trapped in the pastry and causes it to release steam. This steam is what separates the layers of the dough, making them flaky. You could use butter instead of shortening, but since butter has more moisture in it, the pastry won’t be as light and flaky.
Don’t be temped to overfill the pockets. If the edges don’t get a clean seal when pressed together, the filling will just ooze out as it cooks in the oven. Make sure you wet the edges of the pastry before you press it closed, this will help the pastry stick together and create a tight leak-proof seal.
Check all the pockets to make sure all the edges are firmly closed. If there are any openings, use a fork to crimp them again – otherwise all the filling will bubble out as it bakes. For a golden brown shiny crust, brush the tops with an egg wash (or milk will work as well).
|Chicken Empanadas|| |
- 1 cup masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
- 1 cup GF flour blend
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup GF shortening
- ⅔ cup cold water
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella, grated
- 2 Tbsp - ¼ cup green salsa or 2 Tbsp canned green chilies, finely diced
- 1 tsp oregano
- For the pastry, combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in the shortening until pea size crumbs are formed. Stir in the cold water until a dough forms, may not use it all. Chill dough for 15 minutes.
- To prepare filling, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Roll dough out and cut out into 4-6” circles. Place some filling into the center of each circle, wet edges of dough with water, fold dough in half and press edges together to seal. Use a fork to crimp edges to ensure filling doesn’t leak out when baking. For a golden brown crust you can brush pastry tops with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water + pinch of salt).
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes (you can also fry them in some oil using the stovetop).
- You could use butter instead of shortening, but since butter has more moisture in it, the pastry won't be as light and flaky.