In Argentina, ‘humita’ is the name given to a creamy corn filling and it is often used to describe corn empanadas.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) creamed corn
- 100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) tinned white corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- 100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) tinned corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- 35 g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) coarsely grated provolone
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 185 ml (6 fl /¾ cup) iced water
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250 g (9 oz) butter, melted
Tomato salsa (to serve)
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped red chilli
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- pinch sea salt
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.
Sitting time: 2 hours
1. To make the empanada dough, combine the salt and water in a small bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved.
2. Tip the flour into the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly pour the melted butter into the flour, followed by the salt water. Process until the mixture begins to come together to form a rough dough (do not overmix).
3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth dough ball. Divide the dough in half (this makes it easier to work with) and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for about 1 hour at room temperature before using. The dough can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 2-mm thick circle.
4. Cover, and set aside for a further 1 hour. Use a pastry cutter to cut out 12-cm (4¾ in) circles of dough, stacking the circles as you go, until you have 24 circles.
5. While the dough is sitting, make the salsa by removing and discarding the cores of the tomatoes. Cut a small cross in the base of each tomato and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand for no more than 1 minute, then drain and peel the tomatoes. Discard the skins. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in the bowl of a food processor, along with the remaining salsa ingredients. Process to make a smooth sauce. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed. The salsa will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.
6. To make the filling, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to sizzle, stir through the flour and cook for 1 minute, or until a paste forms. Stir through the creamed corn and cook for 2–3 minutes, until thickened, then stir through both corn kernels and the provolone. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
8. Place about 1½ tablespoons of the corn mixture in the centre of each dough circle and lightly brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold the dough to enclose the filling and press the edges together to seal. Crimp or pleat the dough, then transfer to the baking trays. Alternatively, you can fold the empanadas like large tortellini by folding the pastry over the filling and bringing the two corners round to meet each other. Lightly wet the corners and press firmly to seal. Brush the tops of the empanadas with beaten egg, then bake for 15–20 minutes, until puffed and golden.
9. Serve with the tomato salsa on the side.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99