Certain foods freeze especially well, with empanadas at the head of list. Originally from Galicia in Spain, and later a mainstay of Latin American comfort food, empanadas represent Iberia's entry in the category of one of the world's great foods: the hand-held pie. Other variations on the theme can be as different as Cornwall's dense pastie, North Africa's flaky brik and India's spicy samosas, but empanadas are undeniably special. Filled to bursting with meat, vegetable or even sweet fillings, they're as irresistible after freezing as they are fresh.
Prepare a batch of empanadas according to your favorite recipe. Be diligent to seal the seams where the edges of the dough come together; otherwise the empanadas will burst open when they're baked.
Transfer each empanada as it's finished to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you've made up all your empanadas or filled the sheet. Space them evenly so they don't touch, because if they should freeze together you'll have difficulty separating them without damaging the crust.
Cover your sheet of empanadas loosely with plastic film wrap and transfer the sheet to your freezer. The empanadas should freeze in two to three hours, depending on your freezer's temperature and efficiency.
Remove the frozen empanadas from the sheet pan and wrap them individually in plastic film wrap or bag them in heavy-duty freezer bags. Label and date them, then use them up within three months for the best quality and flavor.
Fully Cooked Empanadas
Mix and form a batch of empanadas according to your favorite recipe, then bake or fry them until golden and flaky.
Place the finished empanadas on a cooling rack in a well-ventilated location, so they'll cool rapidly. To maximize food safety, they must be ready to refrigerate or freeze within two hours.
Wrap the cooled empanadas individually in plastic film wrap or heavy-duty freezer bags, then label and date them.
Distribute the wrapped empanadas around your freezer in a single layer, so they'll freeze quickly. After 2 to 3 hours, when they're frozen hard, gather them together into one or more larger bags. To ensure the best possible quality, reheat and eat the empanadas within three months.