Tourtières à la pérouvienne or French Canadian empanadas

Growing up in Quebec, in a French-Canadian/Peruvian family, I have had my fair share of tourtières (meat pie) and empanadas (meat stuffed pastry).  Tourtière has never been one of my favorite dishes but I still consider it comfort food. Why not my favorite? They are often dry or tasteless and in order to swallow , I would need to cover each bite with ketchup . Of the hundreds of tourtières I’ve had in my life, I would say only a handful were ever moist, flavorful and delicious. Empanadas on the other hand are packed with flavor and I could devour one in as much time as it takes to read this short paragraph.

Just before this past Christmas, I found a recipe in Coup de Pouce for mini-tourtières made with puffed pastry. I was transfixed! I wanted to make them for Christmas but they never made their way to the menu. Fast forward a month and I was still dreaming about these mini-tourtières. I was excited to work with puff pastry for the very first time but I was also worried about the filling.

Solution…empanadas! Beef empanadas are much like tourtières in that both are made with ground beef; the difference is in the spices.  Tourtières call for cinnamon and cloves whereas Peruvian empanadas call for cumin, raisins and hard boiled eggs. The following is the winning combination of spices I came up with; a beautiful French-Canadian/Peruvian marriage. LOL!

 INGREDIENTS / HOW TO:

1 tbsp of butter to sautée the finely chopped onion (1) and minced clove of garlic

Brown 1lb/500grams of ground pork/beef/veal mix

Season with:

  • ½ tsp of salt

  • ½ tsp of ground pepper

  • ½  tsp of cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp of clove

  • 1 tsp of sugar

  • 2 tbsps of chopped cilantro

Add a ½ cup of raisins to the mix and remove from heat. Let the filling cool completely before proceeding with assembly.

In the meantime, prepare 3 hardboiled eggs which you will cut length-wise in 4 and then again in half.

Once the filling and the eggs are ready and the pastry is defrosted but still cool, start assembly.

TENDERFLAKE puff pastry, 397g box **defrost at room temperature for 2 hours

1 whisked egg yolk & 2 tsps of milk to wash the tourtières with before baking

Roll puff pastry out to the size of your muffin tray. Then cut 12 equal squares of puff pastry and place into each muffin mold making sure there is enough to close over the filling. Fill each mold with the meat filling and top with a slice of hardboiled egg. Gently tug and fold puff pastry over the filling and pinch to seal. Wash with whisked egg yolk & milk  and pop into 425 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

NOTE: I need to work on my puff pastry handling technique. They looked a bit ugly before baking but once they were cooked and golden and I bit into them, I was rewarded with one of the most heavenly morsels of food I have ever made.

**For those who noticed...I decided that cumin would be a bit much against the cinnamon and cloves...it worked out

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