Q. I’m not sure if you can help me, but here goes. I like to make empanadas. They are a type of South American meat patty that consist of ground meat or chopped vegetables wrapped in a pastry crust and then either baked or fried. They are a food that I grew up eating, but they are difficult to find in the place I currently live. So, I make them. The thing is, they are time consuming to make, and so I don’t do it very often. I would like to be able to set aside one day every few months to make a big batch that I could then freeze. That way, all I would have to do is thaw out a few frozen empanadas any time I feel like eating them. Can you freeze empanadas?
A. Such an interesting story! I love empanadas, but I’m lucky enough to live somewhere they’re readily available. I can imagine that it would be a very time consuming endeavour to have to make them from scratch every time you wanted them. Happily for you, yes, you can freeze empanadas! Whether they are baked or fried, they can be safely frozen without affecting taste or quality.
To freeze empanadas, you must wait until they have cooled completely after cooking. If you have fried the empanadas, rest them on some paper towels to soak up the excess oil. If you have baked them, allow them to cool on the baking sheet. If not, condensation will form and the crust will go soggy. I recommend flash freezing them first. You can do this by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer until the outside firms up a bit. Then, you can decide if you are going to wrap them individually or not. I recommend it, but it’s not a requirement.
To wrap individually, simply wrap each empanada in a layer of plastic wrap, making sure that none of the pastry is exposed to the air. Once they are all wrapped, place them in a large freezer bag or hard sided freezer safe container, and then seal the package. Label and date it, and then place it in the freezer.
To use, simply take out the number of empanadas you want, and then allow them to thaw in the fridge or in the microwave. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap if defrosting in the microwave. Then, reheat them in a warm oven. This will help them regain their flaky texture.