While most of my cocktail party prep/cooking went off without a hitch, I did have one pretty major hiccup with an egg roll dish involving phyllo dough. That stuff is HARD to work with, by gosh. I just didn’t leave myself enough time, and phyllo is NOT the kind of ingredient that cooperates in high-stress situations. So, the chorizo-goat cheese-chive filling ended up making some darn fine omelets the following morning, and I resigned myself to master phyllo dough some other day.
Thank goodness refrigerated pie crusts are more friendly and forgiving, as I really wanted to have at least one “filled pastry” kind of dish. These empanadas were relatively straightforward to make (the filling in particular was quite simple, and it definitely made the kitchen smell yummy), and even though they required a little time and concentration to fill and shape, the oohs and ahhhs and “you MADE those?!?!” comments definitely made the extra effort worthwhile. They really were delicious, and everyone had fun guessing what made them just a touch sweet (it’s the cinnamon).
A couple of notes: 1) You have to find your own happy zen place in terms of how thin to roll the pie crusts. You want them to be thick enough to hold in the stuffing, but you don’t want them so thick that the dough overpowers every bite. I think after making one or two, you can easily figure out what works and what doesn’t. 2) If you don’t have cookie cutters, just use the open end of a water glass. 3) Yay, you can put these together ahead of time and then freeze them until you’re ready to bake! Just assemble them, freeze them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then transfer them to a Ziploc bag once they are firm. When you bake them from frozen, just adjust the time to more like 30-45 minutes.
Heat oven to 375º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Put the sour cream in a small bowl and sprinkle with the lime zest. Serve with the empanadas.