Tuna and olive empanadas

An empanada is a popular pastry in Latin America and Spain. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar which means to wrap or coat in bread.

Makes: 20-24

For the smoked paprika pastry

  • 420g flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150g unsalted butter, diced
  • 75g cream cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar


For the filling

  • 425g can tuna in oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup olives, pitted, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leafed parsley
  • 3 eggs, 2 hard-boiled and roughly chopped, 
  • 1 lightly beaten with a little water 
  • Chutney to serve (optional)



For the smoked paprika pastry

1. Sift the flour, paprika and salt together then put into a food processor with the butter and cream cheese. Blitz briefly to a coarse crumb so bits of butter are still visible. 

2. Add the egg and vinegar and enough iced water for it to just come together (start with ¼ cup then add by the tablespoon as necessary, up to about ½ cup). 

3. Tip onto a clean bench and bring together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

4. Divide the dough in 2 and roll out each piece between 2 layers of baking paper, lightly dusting with flour, to 3mm thick.

5. Cut the pastry into 12cm rounds, re-rolling the scraps and cutting again. Refrigerate the pastry rounds for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the filling

1. Drain the oil from the tuna, reserving 2 tablespoons. Heat a frying pan, add the reserved tuna oil and the onion and fry for 10 minutes or until soft. 

2. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovies and fry for a few more minutes then add the paprika and cook for another minute. 

3. Add the roasted pepper, capers, olives and tuna and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and hard-boiled eggs. Cool before using.

4. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into each pastry round and brush the edges with egg wash. Fold the pastry upwards at 3 evenly spaced points so they meet in the middle. (It's easiest to bring 2 sides together, pinch together, then bring up the third side.) 

5. Seal the edges tightly to prevent them from opening during baking. Alternatively, you can fold the rounds in half into semicircles and crimp the edges together. 

6. Put the empanadas onto a baking paper-lined tray and refrigerate until ready to cook – it's best if they can have 30 minutes in the fridge before baking. 

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200°C and brush the empanadas with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve with chutney, if desired.

Written by Ginny Grant. First appeared on Stuff.co.nz.