Meatless Monday: Brazilian palm-heart bites

Brazilian savory snacks are delish. Empadinhas are little tiny pies and made with dough called massa (like a shortcut cut pastry or pâte brisée). They make perfect party-bite and you can play around with the fillings. Below I am featuring an empadinha-recipe from the Hungry Sofia blog, but I have adjusted the ingredients for the dough. In Brazil, they often leave out the cheese and add a spoonful of tomato paste to the mixture.


Empadinhas de Palmito / Heart of Palm Pastries

For the dough:
2 eggs;
250 grams of butter
500 gr unbleached blour
pinch of salt

For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups hearts of palm, drained and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Manzanilla olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons Parmesan, shredded
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare the dough:
Sift together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Either by hand or using a pastry blender, work the butter into the dried ingredients until it flakes off into pea-sized pieces. Stir in the egg mixture and knead until it begins to just hold together.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. For the fraisage or final blending, smear the dough a few spoonfuls at a time across the board with the heel of your hand. Gather the dough with a scrapper and form into a mound. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the filling:
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until well incorporated, about 1 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, turning constantly until the sauce begins to thicken but is still creamy, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the hearts of palm and olive and cook until warmed through, an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.


Form the empadinhas:
On a lightly floured board, roll out dough to about 1/8″ thick.  Using a round cookie cutter (about 2-2 1/2-inch wide), cut out pastry rounds and place in the muffin cups. Re-roll scraps once to cut more rounds. Fill each cup with 1 rounded tablespoon of filling and top with additional pastry rounds to seal.  Using a sharp knife, cut tiny vents in the top of each empadinha.  Lightly brush with beaten egg yolk.

Place in the oven and bake until the crust is lightly golden, 25-30 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and serve immediately.

Makes 12 large or 24 small empadinhas.


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