Beer Empanadas with Fig Jam

A delicious empanada recipe from Luz — made with beer AND fig jam. Luz says:

I remember this was the very first dessert recipe I tried making when I was little!  We have a fig tree outside my parents’ home and I would always want to make fig jam with it.  Plus, there was always beer in the fridge … so, one plus two equals fig-beer empanadas!  No wonder why family friends kept asking my parents if I wanted to make fig empanadas soon… they just wanted the leftover beer.

These empanadas are DELICIOUS, and the perfect use for one of our favorite late-summer jams. Warm, slightly earthy, and delicately sweet, they make an excellent light dessert. Some of us may have eaten them for breakfast this morning. With creme fraiche.

Beer empanadas with fig
3 cups flour, sifted
1/4 cup lard or shortening
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup beer (Luz used Anchor Steam)
1 jar of fig jam (your mileage may vary)
1 egg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix flour, sugar, and salt together. Break in the lard with your hands until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs.

Begin adding about two-thirds of the beer — you might not need all of it. Knead lightly, about a minute, or until all ingredients have come together. You want to finish with a malleable dough.

On a slightly floured table, roll out the dough into about an 1/8-inch thick disk.

With the mouth of a cup or a cookie cutter, cut out disks no smaller than 3 inches. You can reuse and roll any leftover dough.

Place about 1 leveled Tablespoon of fig jam to each disk. You want to be able to close them easily as you over-flap each one, and not have the jam squeeze out as you join the flaps together. (The dough is a bit elastic, so you will see you can also stretch it a bit with both hands as you are joining one flap to the other.)

Press the corners with the end of a fork to seal them and prevent the jam from spreading out.

If you like, brush lightly with a whisked egg. Either way, bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown.

Note: These freeze quite well (before baking).

The Great Beer Bread Experiment

Turns out it’s International Beer Day tomorrow (August 5). We love any excuse to bake, and thus The Great Beer Bread Experiment was born: bake a loaf of beer bread, and pair it with some of our favorite jams and marmalades.

We used this recipe, and the beer of choice was Scrimshaw. Before we knew it, a fresh-baked loaf of delicious (albeit slightly sweet*) bread was in our little hands.

The candidates for perfect match with beer bread: Red Raspberry-Strawberry Jam, Golden Sweet Apricot Jam, Nightfall Blackberry Jam, Lemon-Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, Seville Orange Marmalade with Vanilla and Muscovado, and English Marmalade. We chose the widest flavor variety possible. We’re very scientific like that.

Our results indicate that marmalade is an excellent match for beer bread. While the Seville Orange Marmalade was a little too intense for this batch of beer bread, we want to try it with bread made with a stronger beer — maybe Guinness. The Lemon-Pink Grapefruit was a little too light for the Scrimshaw. If we make a Stella Artois beer bread, Lemon-Pink Grapefruit will be our choice.

Jam, it turns out, is better suited for a lighter bread that does not taste like beer. However, we did think the Nightfall Blackberry jam was pretty delicious with this bread — it was a close second for the favorite pairing. We’d recommend using Nightfall Blackberry to accentuate a blackberry or other berry ale.

The clear first-place winner was the Seville Orange Marmalade with Vanilla and Muscovado. The strong notes in this marmalade — molasses-y muscovado sugar, rum, and vanilla — held up against the beer flavor, while simultaneously accentuating the different notes in the beer. Some of us may have gone back for a second helping. In order to verify our results.

Happy International Beer Day!

*This recipe recommends a bit too much sugar for our taste.