Bolivian Empanadas de Queso


     These Bolivian cheese pastries are a delight. The cheese really makes it, they are salty, and tangy, with a perfectly savory punch. It was so fun to tackle this project because it wasn't one I picked. I love being able to do what I want, but I also love a challenge. A friend asked me to help make this recipe for a class. I usually love meat pastries the most, so I was hoping to go that route and so happy I was pushed outside my norm. This recipe from Bolivian Bella was a delicious was to try something new. 

     The egg white in the cheese was a technique I am thrilled to have discovered. Instead of the cheese melting and leaving the pastry hollow it kept the cheese thick and full insides the dough. Originally it was gooey and cheese. As they cooled, you can see in the picture below, they still kept their own distinct texture and were puff pastry like. 

3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. lard
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3 egg yolks
3 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 egg whites
8 oz. Cojita cheese
8 oz. queso fresco
1/2 c. cream

In a food processor add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Pulse a second or two to mix. Add the lard and pulse an other few seconds. Add the eggs and egg yolks and run. slowly drizzle in ice water just until a dough forms. Continue running for another 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from the food process and knead on a clean surface just until smooth. Cover with a lightly damp cloth and set aside. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350*F. 

Crumble the cheese in to a bowl. Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Combine the egg whites and the cheese and mix until combined. 

Split the dough in to 24 different pieces. Roll a piece of dough in to a long oval. About 2.5 inches by 8 inches. Place a tablespoon of cheese on one end of the dough. fold the other side over the top. Crimp or pinch the edges of the pastry and place on a baking tray about 2 inches apart. 

Lightly brush the top with cream and place in the oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. 

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!



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