The 138th Kentucky Derby race is almost here and it so happens that this year it falls on Cinco de Mayo. For the Gringos out there, that roughly translates to eating fajitas and getting shit faced drinking Abuela’s moonshine all day (well at least for me). There are so many events going on this Saturday, Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, Mayweather vs Cotto, party at Studio 410, Mavs Playoff game, how dare I limit myself. Faced with the dilemma of which event to partake in, I came to the conclusion that I will celebrate all. Needing an appropriate dish that would blend all together, I created The Mint Julep Empanada.
A good custard always finishes a southern meal. A great custard always uses a spirit, and in Kentucky it better be bourbon. The ingredients needed for this is 6 egg yolks, ¼ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, teaspoon of flour, 2 cups of milk, 2 tablespoons of bourbon (I love cooking and with Bulleit (and drinking)), and a pinch of salt and cinnamon.
Mix all ingredients, except the milk, in a saucepan. Warm the milk then add slowly while stirring into the saucepan that on a low heat. Continue to stir for 7 to 10 minutes; you want the mixture to thicken to the point where it coats the wooden spoon. When done, remove from heat.
Empanada dough is pretty easy to make. All you need is 3 cups of flour, teaspoon of salt, ½ of water, 1 egg and egg white, teaspoon of vinegar, 3 tablespoons of shortening, and ¼ cup of finely chopped mint. Blend all dry ingredients, and then slowly add wet ingredients while stirring until stiff.
It’s time to work the dough; I haven’t used my right hand this much since middle school! Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Start kneading the dough with the palm of your hand, folding it as you go. You want to work all the ingredients together making sure they are all mixed.
Refrigerate the custard and dough for at least 1 ½ hours. Place the custard in a bowl so it can set. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. “Set it and forget it”, at least for 1 ½ hours. While playing the waiting game kick back and enjoy some Mint Juleps.
By the time you are finishing your third Mint Julep it’s probably time to roll out the mint empanada dough. Cut out tennis ball size pieces and roll it out on a floured surface. Find something that’s about 6 inches in diameter to cut circles out of the dough. I used a glass bowl.
After all your dough is roll and cut out, scoop the bourbon custard into the dough. Fold it over half moon style and crimp in the goodness with a fork tip. Flip ‘em over and crimp again. Where’s Abuela when you really need her?
This is where the empanadas get a nice golden look. Brush a beaten egg on the tops of the empanadas. Place them on a baking sheet and down the home stretch, almost at the finish line!
Crank up the oven to 375 degrees then place the baking sheet in and set the timer to 15 minutes. The empanadas are done when they got a golden color to them. Let them cool down before tearing into it, otherwise that custard filling will owe you. BTW, I called up my bookie and told him that the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner is going to be “I’ll Have Another” across the board because that horse has the Glut Life mentality.