Brazilian Empanadas With Hearts of Palm

Empadinhas de palmito

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Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 10 servings

Brazilians have their own version of the empanada called empanadas or empadinhas (little empanadas). Empadinhas are more likely to have a round shape, like mini pies, and fillings such as shrimp or salted codfish. These empadinhas are filled with hearts of palm (a very common ingredient in Brazilian cooking), sautéed onions, and black olives.


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: 4 pieces bacon (chopped fine)
  • 1 large onion (chopped fine)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can of hearts of palm (drained and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 12 black olives (roughly chopped)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup farmer's cheese or feta (cubed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Melt the butter with the shortening and let cool.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Stir in the cooled butter and shortening with a fork.

  3. Stir in the egg yolks, and mix well. Add the buttermilk gradually until the mixture starts to come together. Knead briefly until dough is smooth.

  4. Wrap dough in saran wrap and let rest on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour.

  5. Melt butter and oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sauté optional bacon pieces until crispy, then remove to paper towels. Add the onions and sugar to the skillet and sauté until golden and translucent. Add the hearts of palm and sauté a few minutes more.

  6. Stir in the flour, then add the milk and lower heat slightly. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the olives. Stir in the farmer's cheese and bacon bits, if using. Set aside to cool.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll out 10 of the pieces into circles large enough to line the bottom and sides of a standard muffin tin. It may help to roll the dough, then let it rest for a few minutes, then roll it out the rest of the way. The rest lets the elasticity in the dough relax and helps it to maintain its shape.

  8. Line 10 muffin tins with dough circles, pressing them into the bottom and sides of the pan. Divide the filling between the 10 lined muffin tins.

  9. Roll out the remaining two portions of dough and cut circles to match the diameter of the muffin tins. Place the circles on top of the filling, and pinch around the edges to seal them with the dough lining the tin. Seal them well so that the filling doesn't leak out during baking.

  10. Bake pastries for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

  11. Serve hot and enjoy.