Nov 25, 2012

Corn Basil Handpies #SundaySupper

If there's a dish that is shared among friends in this country that is empanadas, or handpies or turnovers.
It's the delivery or take-out food by excellence; we have all said, at one time or another, 'we'll just order some empanadas' whenever there's a gathering with friends in the horizon and there's no one to do the cooking. We have a wide variety of fillings that include meat, chicken, cheese and onion, caprese, ham and cheese, spinach, and corn as the most common.

Today is a special post, involving friends and specifically friends in need.

Our helping hands theme for Sunday Supper, hosted by the phenomenal blogger and friendly Liz, of That Skinny Chick can Bake, came after the not-at-all friendly Sandy came and went. A devastating natural tragedy that left many homes and families in need of assistance of all kinds.

I think the need to help is almost natural in the food blogging community. We're very nurturing, just like food is, and tend to be there for whoever needs it.

These handpies are simple to make because they can be made in steps. Though any store-bought pie dough can be used and the shape of the empanadas con be square, like these mushroom ham ones, making it easier to cut them from a piece of rolled dough.
In this case, the dough is the one I used for this pecan pie. It's very different from the one I posted for the meat empanadas. The reason I used this buttery one is because I already had it in the fridge. Yeah, it wasn't something terribly planned, but it's the kind of versatile dough that goes from sweet pie to savory handpie.

The thing with these corny pockets is that they can be eaten warm or at room temperature. They don't have cheese, though you're very welcome to add some parmesan or gruyere to it, but then you would have to eat them hot. This corn basil filling is very flavorful and you won't miss the cheese one bit. If you want it spicy, add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Cumin is another spice that goes well with it.
I kept it very simple. A white sauce (equal parts of butter and flour cooked, to which milk is added) enriched with corn, tomatoes, onion and basil. The kind of thing that I would really make to take over to whoever is going through a crisis. 


Note: I made 1/3 of the recipe and got 8 medium (fist sized) empanadas. If you make the whole filling you can keep it in the refrigerator for a week. Or assemble the empanadas and freeze them, unbaked,  for a month. To bake, transfer them to a baking tray without defrosting and bake in a 350ºF oven.
If you want a glossy finish, brush the top of the empanadas with egg mixed with a bit of milk.
Check out the meat turnovers post for tips on assembling these.


For the Pie Dough, see recipe

For the filling:
6 Tbs butter
6 Tb flour
1 large white or red onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk
6 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted
½ cup chopped basil
6 Tbs chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and black pepper


For the pie dough:
Cut the chilled dough into small pieces, between a walnut and a golf ball, make little rounds and roll them on a floured surface trying to keep the round shape as much as possible, until you have 6-inch rounds. Keep refrigerated, well covered so they don´t dry out.

For the filling:
Melt butter in a pan, add onion and cook, without browning, until softened, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onion and mix with a wooden spoon. Cook stirring for 3 or 4 minutes, until barely starting to color. Add milk stirring constantly. Let come to a boil and remove from heat. Add corn, basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and let cool completely.

Butter, onion and flour cooked and milk was added to make the white sauce

To assemble: Put 3 or 4 Tbs filling on each dough round. Moisten the edge of the dough with water and close, pressing the dough together lightly. Flute the edges and arrange on a buttered baking tray.
Bake in a 375ºF / 190ºC oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

The Sunday Supper crew put together, yet again, a fantastic list of nurturing food to inspire you to offer a helping hand:

Breakfast and Brunch:
Comforting Casseroles and Entrées:
Warming Soups and Sides:
Sweet Endings:

If you are interested in making a donation to help the hurricane victims, here are links to the two charitable organizations we recommend:

Please join on us on Twitter for #SundaySupper throughout the day. In the evening, we will meet at 7 PM EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe ideas for #HelpingHands on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board so we can share them with all of our followers.


  1. Paula, your Corn Basil Handpies would have been the perfect "finger food" to prepare for all those Christmas bazaars that I had to bake for this weekend - would have been nice to have something savory in addition to all those seasonal cookies and cakes (although they are/were) delicious too.

  2. I absolutely love empanadas. I have only had ones with meat. You struck my heart with corn (one of my favs). Then the basil took it over the top! Looks like it is time for me to make another batch of pie crust so I can make these. Oh yummy!

  3. I too love empanadas but have never made them. I think I need to venture out of my comfort zone, Paula! These sound amazing!

    1. They´re no harder than making pie Karen!

  4. I love empanadas! I'm definitely trying your version!

  5. I love these beautiful hand pies... your photography makes them look absolutely delish!

  6. What an amazing filling...bright and sunny, and totally comforting! Gorgeous, Paula.

  7. I love hand pies - these look amazing. Thank you for sharing! ~ Bea @galactopdx

  8. What deliciously stuffed hand pies :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. These looks absolutely delicious and the perfect bites to be enjoyed!Love the sun dried tomatoes along with the corn in the filling!So yummy and delish :)

  10. I'm so happy to have discovered your lovely blog. The corn and basil empanadas sound terrific.

  11. These look so darn delicious. I'm positive I'd scarf down the whole recipe-worth myself. It's definitely a different and tantalizing twist on hand pies!

  12. OMG, these are amazing looking. My mouth is watering!!

  13. Ymmy! I find such savory handpies very delicious, especially having them with chicken stock..

  14. What a treat - lovely little pies full of flavor and goodness!
    Mary x

  15. I love the idea of hand pies - savory or sweet. Corn and basil seems like a delicious combination for these!

  16. I adore empanadas! These are just gorgeous!

  17. Oh, gosh, these look irresistible, Paula! I could eat a huge bowl of the filling alone!!!

  18. OMG! These look so beautiful, Paula, and the flavours of the filling are some of my favourites. I love corn and welcome any opportunity to cook with it and eat it. I'll echo Liz's comment - I could totally eat a bowl of that filling too!

  19. Corn and basil is a winning combo in my book. And empanadas are the perfect sharing food. One of my favorite salads is lobster, corn and basil... might that work for a hand-pie filling? As always, I am hungry at the crack of dawn when I read your blog... ~ David

  20. This sounds delightful! I love a meal I can take with me and not worry about heating up. This is a must try.

  21. Oh these sound fabulous. I bet they would make a perfect starter.

  22. Paula,
    oh my goodness!! These hand pies look so AMAZING! So beautiful!!! and delicious! I am going to try this recipe!! And I love that these are vegetarian! :) LOVE this!!!


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