Brazilian Veggie Pot Pie (Empadão de Palmito)

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During the colder months, I feel like we eat a lot of pot pies here in the States – at least, that’s when I more often see recipes of it being taught on cooking shows or shared on magazines. Creamy and comforting, the (allow me to call) American pot pie is a perfect dish for when it’s cold outside.

In Brazil, people are obsessed with pot pies. I am obsessed with pot pies! Our version, though, is more adaptable to, let’s say, a wider variety of climates… Most of the country is warm year-round; therefore, our very own version of the dish has a filling that is moist and creamy, but not as soupy, which tastes great either warm or at room temperature. Since the filling is less runny, the pie can be assembled in a springform and unmolded in a serving platter – which is my favorite way to present it. But setting it up in a deep-dish is also fine (and easier).

If you haven’t yet met my Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie or my Shrimp and Hearts-of-Palm Pot pie, please let me introduce you to my Brazilian Veggie Pot Pie! This recipe has hearts-of-palm as its main star which gives this pie its distinct zesty flavor. Black olives, corn, and green peas are some of the other featured ingredients, but you can add or subtract accordingly to your taste (just keep proportions balanced so you don’t end up with less – or too much – filling).

I truly enjoy this recipe since I have been a little girl, at any season of the year. I hope you do too!

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Brazilian Veggie Pot Pie (Empadão de Palmito)

Serves 8

Ingredients for Dough:

Ingredients for Filling:

Directions for Dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, eggs, butter, and salt. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes, until smooth and soft (transfer to a flat surface if needed). Or, you can use a standing mixer with the hook attachment.

Place dough in a large sealable plastic bag and remove the air. Transfer to fridge for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling.

Directions for Filling:

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, 4 minutes. Add garlic and chili pepper and stir for another minute, until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato sauce and mascarpone. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook for a couple of minutes, until incorporated.

Fold in hearts-of-palm, black olives, green peas, and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 minutes. Adjust salt and remove from heat. Fold in parsley. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

Assemblage:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove 2/3 of dough from plastic bag, keeping 1/3 of dough inside bag.

Take the larger portion of the dough and cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform (or use a cheesecake pan, or an oven-proof deep-dish). Start pressing the dough on the bottom slowly moving it up to the sides. Press until thin, about 1/8-inch of thickness overall. Remove the excess and save it. Using a fork, prick holes on the entire bottom surface.

Using a rolling pin, stretch the remaining dough (do not remove from bag) until it is large enough to cover the pie. Using a pair of scissors, cut open the top side of the plastic bag and discard, leaving the dough resting over the bottom side of bag.

Place the vegetable filling inside the pan. Holding on to the sides of the plastic bag, flip the dough over the pan to cover. Remove plastic and gently press the dough to make it seat in place (do not push down tightly). Remove any excess from the border and, gently pressing the sides, seal the pie. Using a cookie cutter, cut the excess dough into shapes of your choice to decorate the top (optional).

Cut a small slit on center top and, using a brush, spread the egg wash on surface of pie.

Bake, on center rack of oven, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top in golden brown.

Remove from oven, and let it seat for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Cook’s Note:

Traditionally, requeijão - the Brazilian version of cream cheese - is the ingredient used for this recipe. Unfortunately, it is usually only available at International or Brazilian markets. Over the years, I have found mascarpone (the widely available Italian version of cream cheese) a great substitute for requeijão in my recipes. Many times, I even like it better with mascarpone (please don’t tell my compatriots that I said that!!).

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