Jose Pizarro: spinach, blue cheese and pine nut empanadas recipe

If its difficult to find, a strong silton works really well as an alternative to Spanish urdiña blue cheese.

Serves 6

Ingredients
*Olive oil
*1.2kg spinach
*200g soft blue cheese, crumbled
*100g toasted pine nuts
*Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
*Good grating of fresh nutmeg
*1 free-range egg, beaten to glaze

For the pastry
*500g plain flour, plus extra to dust
*1 teaspoon fine sea salt
*200g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
*1 free-range egg
*75ml cold water
*2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
*1 free-range egg yolk, beaten

Method
1. Make the pastry first. Tip the flour and salt into a bowl and rub the butter in with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 

2. Mix the egg with the cold water and vinegar, add to the bowl and mix in quickly with a flat knife. Bring together with your hands and knead briefly until smooth, then shape into a disc, wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat a little oil in a very large pan and sauté the spinach until it is really wilted (you may need to do this in batches). Place in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then finely chop and tip into a bowl.

4. Add the cheese and pine nuts to the warm spinach and season with salt, pepper and lots of fresh nutmeg. Allow to cool.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

6. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces and place under a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. One at a time, roll them out on a lightly floured surface until they are 16–18 cm  in diameter. 

7. Place a sixth of the mixture into the centre of one half of the circle. Brush the edge with beaten egg yolk, then fold over and crimp with your fingers.

8. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

9. Brush the empanadas all over with the beaten egg and bake for 25–30 minutes until golden. Cool a little before serving.

More recipes from Basque: Spanish recipes from San Sebastian and beyond:

BASQUE: Spanish Recipes from San Sebastián and beyond by José Pizarro (Hardie Grant, £25.00) Photography: Laura Edwards


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