I love savoury pastries. These work as a great appetiser for a dinner party or an awesome lunchbox snack. The beans and sweet potato are so hearty you won’t even miss the meat.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (14 votes)


  • 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 115 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk, approximately
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • black sesame seeds


  • 1 kg sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2-cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 cup drained canned black beans
  • ⅓ cup chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 30 minutes

  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms rough breadcrumbs. Add the egg and just enough of the milk in small increments to bring the dough together. Turn the pastry onto a work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Split the pastry in half, flatten into discs, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can make this 1-2 days in advance.
  2. Meanwhile, for the filling, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Toss the sweet potato in a bowl with the olive oil and season to taste. Spread over a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can do this a couple of days in advance too.
  3. Place 1 cup of cooled sweet potato in a bowl. Add all the remaining filling ingredients along with ½ teaspoon salt and stir until well combined (the mixture doesn’t need to be too fine, it should end up slightly chunky).
  4. When ready to assemble the empanadas, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface until about 5-mm thick. Use a 9-cm round pastry cutter to stamp out rounds.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into the centre of the pastry rounds. Brush the edges with beaten egg white, then fold one side over the other to make a half moon shape. You can either pinch the dough together to close or use a fork to press the two sides together to form a pattern. Place on a baking paper–lined baking tray, brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 16 minutes or until golden.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.