Brazilian Hearts of Palm Empanadas (Empanada de Palmito)

These traditional pastries are similar to baked empanadas, except that they are made in a muffin tin, giving them their characteristic domed shape. These can be served with salsa.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 1 hourTotal: 1 hour 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 12


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 6 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
  • 9 Tbsp. cold butter, divided
  • 3 egg yolks, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) hearts of palm, drained and chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced green olives
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  • Place flour and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut vegetable shortening and 8 tablespoons butter into small pieces and add them to the flour. Use your fingers to mix butter and shortening into flour, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 egg yolks and 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water and knead mixture until it comes together into a smooth dough, adding more water if mixture is too dry. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, or until ready to use (dough can be made 1 day ahead).
  • Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add hearts of palm and tomato to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often. Add olives and cream and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Add peas and cook for 2–3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into 2 portions, one twice as big as the other. Divide each portion into 12 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Press one large dough ball into each well of a 12-cup muffin tin, covering the bottom and pressing dough up sides to cover. Fill the dough with enough filling to mound up over the top of the muffin tin slightly. Using your fingers or a rolling pin, flatten each of the remaining small dough balls into a circle. Place a circle of dough to cover each empanada. Press the edges of the dough together to seal and trim away any excess.
  • Beat remaining egg yolk and brush over the tops of the empanadas. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.